Skip to main content

Full text of "Life and public services of John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States"

See other formats

07' 'v/i :'!.'' I.'::,' 


^r/j tJif^j f^i^j f?ifi ui fJT>'j fifjfj fj 


•:":S>N • ^/ / 

■nrfraTea-frgiBQ. aPafltitixidiy A.B.l>uj:aji3- . 

.^TaiHriT ^T^Tir 

^i])A:Siir s 

3, 5 . jici ajynj) 














^ ^N^s^s^^r^^^^^^# 






» * 

>.>/>/- V ^ ••S.'N' - 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by 

In the Clerk's Office for the Northern DisUict of New York. 



• • ( 




^l)is bolumc 



The Publishers apologize for the delay in issuing 
this volume, which was announced by them as in 
press, more than one year since, shortly after the de- 
cease of its illustrious subject. Gov. Seward, in 
undertaking its preparation, was well aware of the 
engrossing attention which his professional duties re- 
quired, but looked constantly for relaxation from his 
multiplied business engagements, in the hope that he 
might be able to complete the work commenced by 
him. It however became necessary for its timely 
completion, to obtain the literary assistance of an able 
writer, who has, under his auspices, completed the 
work. The Publishers confidently believe, that it will 
in all respects, be received as a faithful and impartial 
history of the Life of the '' Old Man Eloquent," and 
worthy a place in the library of every friend of liberty 
and humanity. 

Auburn, April, 1849. 


The claims of this volume are humble. For more 
than half a century John Quincy Adams had occu- ^ 
pied a prominent position before the American people, 
and filled a large space in his country's history. His 
career was protracted to extreme old age. He out- 
lived political enmity and party rancor. His purity 
of life — his elevated and patriotic principles of action 
—his love of country, and devotion to its interests — 
his advocacy of human freedom, and the rights of man 
— brought all to honor and love him. Admiring legis- 
lators hung with rapture on the lips of " the Old Man 
Eloquent," and millions eagerly perused the senti- 
ments he uttered, as they were scattered by the press 
in every town and hamlet of the Western Continent. 
At his decease, there was a general desire expressed 
for a history of his life and times. A work of this de- 
scription was understood to be in preparation by his 
family. It was not probable, however, that this could 
appear under several years, and when published, 
would undoubtedly be placed, by its size and cost, be- 


yond the reach of the great mass of readers, 
view of these circumstances, there was an evident 
want of a volume of more limited compass — a book 
which would come within the means of the people 
generally, — and adapted not only for libraries, and the 
higher classes of society, but would find its way into 
the midst of those moving in the humbler walks of life. 
To supply this want, the present work has been pre- 
pared. The endeavor has been made to compress 
within a brief compass, the principal events of the life 
of Mr. Adams, and the scenes in which he participated ; 
and to portray the leading traits of character which 
distinguished him from his contemporaries. It has 
been the aim to present such an aspect of the history 
and principles of this wonderful man, as shall do jus- 
tice to his memory, and afford an example which the 
youth of America onay profitably imitate in seeking 
for a model by which to shape their course through 
life. How far this end has been attained, an intelli- 
gent and candid public must determine. 




The Ancestry, Birth, and Childhood of John Quincy 
Adams. ... . . . . . ,. 17 


John Quincy Adams studies Law — His Practice — Engages 
in Public Life — Appointed Minister to the Hague. . . 45 


Mr. Adams transferred to Berlin — His Marriage — Literary 
Pursuits — Travels in Silesia — Negotiates Treaties with 
Sweden and Prussia — Recalled to the United States. . 63 


Mr. Adams' Return to the United States — Elected to the 
Massachusetts Senate — Appointed U. S. Senator — Supports 
Mr. Jefferson — Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres — 
Appomted Minister to Russia. . . . . . .82 


Mr. Adams' arrival at St. Petersburg — His Letters to his 
Son on the Bible — His Religious Opinions — Russia offers 

Mediation between Great Britain and the United States — 




Proceeds to Ghent to negotiate for Peace — Visits Paris — 
Appointed Minister at St. James — Arrives in London. . 97 


Mr. Adams appointed Secretary of State — Arrives in the 
United States — Public Dinners in New York and Boston — 
Takes up his Residence in Washington — Defends Gen. 
Jackson in the Florida Invasion — Recognition of South 
American Independence — Greek Revolution. . . .113 


Mr. Adams' nomination to the Presidency — Spirited Presi- 
dential Campaign — No choice by the People — Election goes 
to the House of Representatives — Mr. Adams elected Presi- 
dent — His Inauffuration — Forms his Cabinet. . . .137 



Charges of Corruption against Mr. Clay and Mr. Adams — Mr. 
Adams enters upon his duties as President — Visit of 
La Fayette — Tour through the United States — I\[r. Adams 
delivers him a Farewell Address — Departs from the United 
States. 162 


John Adams and Thomas Jefferson — Their Correspondence — 
Their Death — Mr. Webster's Eulogy — John Q. Adams 
visits Quincy — His Speech at the Public School Dinner in 
Faneuil Hall. . . . . . . . .187 


Mr. Adams' Administration — Refuses to remove political 
opposers from office — Urges the importance of Internal Im- 
provements — Appoints Commissioners to the Congress of 
Panama — His policy toward the Indian Tribes — His Speech 
on breaking ground for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal — 
Bitter opposition to his Administration — Fails of re-election 
to the Presidency — Retires from office. .... 202 



Mr. Adams' multiplied attainments — ^Visited by Southern 
Gentlemen — His Report on Weights and Measures — His 
Poetry — Erects a Monument to the memory of his Parents 
— Elected Member of Congress — Letter to the Bible Society 
— Delivers Eulogy on Death of ex-President Monroe. . 232 


Mr. Adams takes his seat in Congress — His Position and 
Habits as a Member — His Independence of Party — His 
Eulogy on the Death of ex-President James Madison — His 
advocacy of the Right of Petition, and Opposition to Sla- 
very — Insurrection in Texas — Mr. Adams makes known its 
ulterior object. ........ 254 


Mr. Adams presents Petitions for the Abolishment of Slavery 
— Opposition of Southern Members — Exciting Scenes in the 
House of Representatives — Marks of confidence in Mr. 
Adams. 280 


Mr. Adams' firmness in discharge of duty — His exertions 
in behalf of the Amistad Slaves — His connection with the 
Smithsonian Bequest — Tour through Canada and New York 
■ — His reception at Buffalo — Visits Niagara Falls — Attends 
worship with the Tuscarora Indians — His reception at 
Rochester — at Auburn — at Albany — at Pittsfield — Visits 
Cincinnati — Assists in laying the Corner Stone of an Ob- 
servatory. ..... . . . . 300 


Mr. Adams' Last Appearance in Public at Boston — His 
Health — Lectures on his Journey to Washington — Remote 



Cause of his Decease — Struck with Paralysis — Leaves 

Quincy for Washington for the last time — His final Sick- 
ness in the House of Representatives — His Death — The 
Funeral at Washington — Removal of the Body to Quincy — 
Its Interment 325 

EULOGY. ..,.•.... 367 





The Puritan Pilgrims of the May- Flower landed on 
Plymouth Rock, and founded the Colany of Massa- 
chusetts, on the 21st day of December, 1620. 

Henry Adams, the founder of the Adams family in 
America, fled from ecclesiastical oppression in England, 
and joined the Colony at a very early period, but at 
what precise time is not recorded. He erected his 
humble dwelling at a place within the present town of 
QuiNCY, then known as Mount Wollaston, and is 
believed to have been an inhabitant when the first 
Christian Church was gathered there in 1639. On the 
organization of the town of Braintree, which com- 
prised the place of his residence, he was elected Clerk 
of the Town. He died on the eighth day of October, 
1646. His memory is preserved by a plain granite 
monument, erected in the burial-ground at Quincy, 


by John Adams, President of the United States, and 
bearing this inscription : — 

In Memory 



Who took his flight from the Dragon Persecution in Devonshire, in 
England, and alighted with eight sons, near Mount Wollaston. 
One of the sons returned to England, and after taking time 
to explore the country, four removed to Medfield and 
the neighboring towns ; two to Chelmsford. One 
only, Joseph, who lies here at his left hand, 
remained here, who was an original pro- 
prietor in the Township of Braintree, 
incorporated in the year 1639, 

This stone, and several others, have been placed in this yard, by a 
great-great-grandson, from a veneration of the piety, humility, simpli- 
city, prudence, patience, temperance, frugality, industry, and persever- 
ance of his ancestors, in hopes of recommending an imitation of their 
virtues to their posterity. 

Joseph Adams, the son of Henry Adams mentioned 
in the above inscription, died on the sixth of Decem- 
ber, 1694, aged sixty-eight years. Joseph, the next in 
succession, died February 12th, 1736, at the age of 
eighty-four years. His son John Adams, was a Dea- 
con of the Church at Quincy, and died May 25th, 
1761, aged seventy years. This John Adams was the 
father of him who was destined to give not only un- 
dying fame to his ancient family, but anew and powerful 
impulse to the cause of Human Freedom throughout 
the world. 

John Adams, son of John Adams and Susannah 


Boylston Adams, was born at Quincy on the nine- 
teenth day of October (old style), 1735. He received 
the honors of Harvard University in 1755, and then, 
in pursuance of a good old New England custom, 
which made those who had enjoyed the benefits of a 
public education, in turn impart those benefits to the 
public, he was occupied for a time in teaching. 

It ought to encourage all young men in straitened 
circumstances, desirous of obtaining a profession and 
of rising to eminence, to know that John Adams, who 
became so illustrious by talents and achievement as to 
lend renown to the office of President of the United 
States, pursued the study of the law under the incon- 
veniences resulting from his occupation as an instruc- 
tor in a Grammar School. 

John Adams was an eminent and successful lawyer, 
but it was not the design of his existence that his tal- 
ents should be wasted in the contentions of the courts. 

The British Parliament, as soon as the Colonies had 
attracted their notice, commenced a system of legisla- 
tion known as the Colonial System, the object of 
which was to secure to the mother country a monop- 
oly of their trade, and to prevent their rising to a con 
dition of strength and independence. The effect of 
this system was to prevent all manufactures in the Col- 
onies, and all trade w^ith foreign countries, and even 
with the adjacent plantations. 

The Colonies remonstrated in vain against this pol- 
icy, but owing to popular dissatisfaction, the regula- 


tions were not rigidly enforced. At length an Order 
in Council was passed, which directed the officers of 
the customs in Massachusetts Bay, to execute the acts 
of trade. A question arose in the Supreme Court of 
that province in 1761, upon the constitutional right of 
the British Parliament to bind the Colonies. The trial 
produced great excitement. The cause was argued 
for the Crown by the King's Attorney-General, and 
against the laws by James Otis. 

It will be seen that the question thus involved was 
the very one that was finally submitted to the arbi- 
trament of arms in the American Revolution. The 
speech of Otis on the occasion, was an effort of sur- 
passing ability. John Adams was a witness, and he 
recorded his opinion of it, and his opinion of the mag- 
nitude of the question, thus : 

*'Otis was a flame of fire! With a promptitude of 
classical allusion, a depth of research, a rapid summary 
of historical events and dates, a profusion of legal au- 
thorities, a prophetic glance of his eyes into futurity, a 
rapid torrent of impetuous eloquence, he hurried away 
all before him. American Independence was then 
and there born. Every man of an unusually crowded 
audience, appeared to me to go away ready to take up 
arms against Writs of Assistance." 

Speaking on the same subject, on another occasion, 
John Adams said that " James Otis then and there 
breathed into this nation the breath of life." 


From that day John Adams was an enthusiast for 
the independence of his country. 

In 1764 he married Abigail, daughter of the Rever- 
end WiUiam Smith, of Weymouth. The mother of 
John Quincy Adams was a woman of great beauty 
and high intellectual endowments, and she combined, 
with the proper accomplishments of her sex, a sweet- 
ness of disposition, and a generous sympathy with the 
patriotic devotion of her illustrious husband. 

In 1765, the British Parliament, in contempt of the 
discontent of the Colonies, presumptuously passed the 
Stamp Act; a law which directed taxed stamped pa- 
per to be used in all legal instruments in the Colonies. 
The validity of the law was denied ; and while Patrick 
Henry was denouncing it in Virginia, James Otis and 
John Adams argued against it before the Governor 
and Council of Massachusetts. 

The occasion called forth from John Adams a "Dis- 
sertation on the Canon and Feudal Laws," — a work, 
which although it was of a general character in regard 
to government, yet manifested democratic sentiments 
unusual in those times, and indicated that republican 
institutions were the proper institutions for the Amer- 
ican People. 

The resistance to the stamp act throughout the Col- 
onies procured its repeal in 1766. But the British 
Government accompanied the repeal with an ungra- 
cious declaratory act, by which they asserted "that 
the Parliament had, and of right ought to have, power 


to bind the Colonies, in all cases whatsoever." In the 
next year a law was passed, which imposed duties in 
the Colonies, on glass, paper, paints, and tea. The 
spirit of insubordination manifested itself throughout 
the Colonies, and, inasmuch as it radiated from Boston, 
British ships of war were stationed in its harbor, 
and two regiments of British troops were thrown in 
the town, to compel obedience. John Adams had 
now become known as the most intrepid, zealous, 
and indefatigable opposer of British usurpation. The 
Crown tried upon him in vain the royal arts so suc- 
cessful on the other side of the Atlantic. The Gover- 
nor and Council offered him the place of Advocate 
General in the Court of Admiralty, an ofhce of great 
value; he declined it, "decidedly, peremptorily, but re- 

At this interesting crisis, John Quincy Adams was 
born, at Quincy, on the 11th of July, 1767. A lesson, 
full of instruction concerning the mingled influences 
of piety and patriotism in New England, at that time, 
is furnished to us by the education of the younger 
Adams. Nor can we fail to notice that each of those 
virtues retained its relative power over him, through- 
out his long and eventful life. He was brought into 
the church and baptized on the day after that on 
which he was born. 

John Quincy Adams, in one of his letters, thus men- 
tions the circumstances of his baptism : 

"The house at Mount Wollaston has a peculiar in- 


terest to me, as the dwelling of my great-grandfather, 
whose name I bear. The incident which gave rise to 
this circumstance is not without its moral to my heart. 
He was dying, when I was baptized ; and his daughter, 
my grandmother, present at my birth, requested that I 
might receive his name. The fact, recorded by my 
father at the time, has connected with that portion of 
my name, a charm of mingled sensibility and devotion. 
It was filial tenderness that gave the name. It was 
the name of one passing from earth to immortality. 
These have been among the strongest links of my at- 
tachment to the name of Quincy, and have been to 
me, through life, a perpetual admonition to do nothing 
unworthy of it." 

It cannot be doubted that the character of the per- 
son from whom, in such affecting circumstances, he 
derived an honorable patronymic, was an object of 
emulation. John Quincy was a gentleman of wealth, 
education, and influence. He was for a long time 
Speaker of the House of Representatives in Massachu- 
setts, and during many years one of His Majesty's 
Provincial Council. He was a faithful representative, 
and throughout his public services, a vigorous defender 
of the rights and liberties of the Colony. Exemplary 
in private life, and earnest in piety, he enjoyed the 
public confidence, through a civil career of forty years' 

The American Revolution was rapidly hurrying on 
during the infancy of John Quincy Adams. In 1769 


the citizens of Boston held a meeting in which they 
instructed their representatives in the Provincial Leg- 
islature to resist the usurpations of the British Govern- 
ment. John Adams was chairman of the committee 
that prepared these instructions, and his associates 
were Richard Dana and Joseph Warren, the same dis- 
tinguished patriot who gave up his Hfe as one of the 
earhest sacrifices to freedom, in the battle of Bunker 

Those instructions were expressed in the bold and 
decided tone of John Adams, and they increased the 
public excitement in the province, by the earnestness 
with w^hich they insisted on the removal of the British 
troops from Boston. 

The popular irritation increased, until on the 5th of 
March, 1770, a collision occurred between the troops 
and some of the inhabitants of Boston, in which five 
citizens were killed, and many wounded. This was 
called the Bloody Massacre. The exasperated inhab- 
itants were with difficulty restrained from retaliating 
this severity by an extermination of all the British 
troops. A public meeting was held, and a committee, 
of which Samuel Adams was chairman, was appointed 
to address the Governor (Gage), and demand that the 
troops should be withdrawn. John Adams described 
the excitement, on a later occasion, in these words : 

*'Not only the immense assemblies of the people 
from day to day, but military arrangements from night 
to night, were necessary to keep the people and the 


soldiers from getting together by the ears. The life of 
a red-coat would not have been safe in any street or 
corner of the town. Nor would the lives of the inhab- 
itants have been much more secure. The whole mili- 
tia of the city was in requisition, and military watches 
and guards were everywhere placed. We were all 
upon a level. No man was exempted : our military 
officers were our only superiors. I had the honor to 
be summoned in my turn, and attended at the State 
House with my musket and bayonet, my broadsword 
and cartridge-box, under the command of the famous 

The Governor withdrew the troops and sent them 
to the castle : the commanding officer and some of the 
soldiers were arrested, and brought to trial for murder. 

John Adams, the advocate and leader of the exaspe- 
rated people, was solicited by the Government to act 
as counsel for the accused. The people, in the heat 
of passion, would naturally identify the lawyer with 
his clients, and both with the odious cause in which 
they served. John Adams did not hesitate. His 
principle was fidelity to duty in all the relations of life. 
Adams, together with Josiah Quincy, defended the ac- 
cused with ability and firmness, and the result crowned 
not only the advocates, but the jury and the people 
of Boston with honor. Distinguishing between the 
Government, upon whom the responsibility rested, and 
th% troops who were its agents, the jury acquitted the 
ae ftttsed. The people sustained the verdict ; affording 



to Great Britain and to the world a noble proof, that 
they had been well prepared by education for the trust 
of self-government. 

The controversy between the Province of Massa- 
chusetts and the British Government continued, and 
the exasperation of the Colonies became more intense, 
until the destruction of the imported tea in the harbor, 
in December, 1773, incensed the Ministry so highly, 
that they procured an act closing the port of Boston. 
This act was followed by the convention of the first 
American Congress at Philadelphia, on the 5th of Sep- 
tember, 1774. As John Adams had been the master 
spirit in the agitation in Massachusetts, he was ap- 
pointed one of the Delegates to the General Congress. 
After his election, his friend Sewall, the King's Attor- 
ney General, labored earnestly to dissuade him from 
accepting the appointment. 

The Attorney General told the delegate that Great 
Britain was determined on her system, that her power 
was irresistible, and that he, and those with him who 
should persist in their designs of resistance, would be 
involved in ruin. 

John Adams replied, " I know Great Britain lias de- 
termined on her system, and that very determination 
determines me on mine. You know I have been con- 
stant and uniform in opposition to her measures. The 
die is now cast. I have passed the Rubicon. Sink or 
swim, live or die, survive or perish with my country 
is my unalterable determination." 


It was these energetic and resolute expressions 
which Daniel Webster wrought into so magnificent an 
imaginary speech, in his glowing Eulogy on John 
Adams and Thomas Jefferson. 

John Adams continued in Congress throughout the 
sessions of 1775 and 1776, and on all occasions was 
an intrepid and earnest advocate for Independence. 
On his motion, George Washington was appointed 
Commander in Chief of the Army. 

John Adams was the mover of Independence in the 
Congress. On the 6th of May, 1776, he brought the 
subject before that body, by a resolution expressed as 
follows : — 

" Whereas it appears perfectly irreconcilable to 
reason and good conscience, for the people of these 
Colonies now to take the oaths and affirmations neces- 
sary for the support of any government under the 
crown of Great Britain, and it is necessary that the 
exercise of every kind of authority under the said 
crown should be totally suppressed, and all the powers 
of government exerted under the authority of the 
people of the Colonies for the preservation of internal 
peace, virtue, and good order, as well as for the de- 
fence of their lives, liberties, and properties, against 
the hostile invasion, and cruel depredations of their 
enemies : — Therefore, it is recommended to the Colo- 
nies to adopt such a government as will, in the opinion 
of the representatives of the people, best conduce to 


the happiness and safety of their constituents, and of 

This resolution was adopted, and was followed by 
the appointment of a committee, on the motion of 
Richard Henry Lee, seconded by John Adams, to 
prepare a Declaration. Jhis committee consisted of 
Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, 
Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston. Jefferson 
and Adams were a sub-committee, and the former pre- 
pared the Declaration, at the urgent request of the 

Jefferson bore this testimony to the ability and power 
of John Adams. — " The great pillar of support to the 
Declaration of Independence, and its ablest advocate 
and champion on the floor of the House, was John 

On the day after the Declaration of Independence 
was adopted, he wrote the memorable letter in which 
he said with prophetic unction, — " Yesterday the great- 
est question was decided that ever was debated in 
America ; and greater, perhaps, never was or will be 
decided among men. A resolution was passed with- 
out one dissenting Colony, 'That the United States are, 
and of right ought to be, free and independent States.' 
The day is passed. The fourth day of July, 1776, will 
be a memorable epoch in the history of America. I am 
apt to believe it will be celebrated by succeeding gen- 
erations as a great anniversary festival. It ought to be 
commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn 


acts of devotion to Almighty God. It ought to be sol- 
emnized with pomps, shows, games, sports, guns, bells, 
bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the conti- 
nent to the other, from this time forward, forever. 
You may think me transported with enthusiasm, but I 
am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and 
treasure, that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, 
and support and defend these States : yet through all 
the gloom, I can see that the end is worth all the 
means ; and that posterity will triumph, although you 
and I may rue, which I hope we shall not." 

From this time, until November 1777, John Adams 
was incessantly employed in public duties in Congress, 
during the session of that body ; and during its recess, 
as a member of the State Council in Massachusetts. 
During this period, John Quincy was instructed at 
home, by her who, in long after years, he was accus- 
tomed to call his almost adored mother, who was aided 
by a law-student in the office of his father. Edward 
Everett, in his Eulogy upon John Quincy Adams, 
made the very striking and just remark, that there 
seemed to be in his life no such stage as that of boy- 
hood. While yet but nine years old, he wrote to his 
father the following letter : 

Braintree, June 2nd, 1777. 
Dear Sir, 

I love to receive letters very well ; much better than I love to 
write them. I make but a poor figure at composition. My head is 
much too fickle. My thoughts are running after bird's eggs, play 
and trifles, till' I get vexed with myself. Mamma has a troublesome 



task to keep me a studying. I own I am ashamed of myself. 1 
have but just entered the third volume of Rollin's History', but de- 
signed to have got half through it by this time. I am determined 
this week to be more diligent. Mr. Thaxter is absent at Court. I 
have set myself a stint this week, to read the third volume half out. 
If I can but keep my resolution, I may again at the end of the week 
give a better account of myself. I wish, sir, you would give me in 
writing, some instructions with regard to the use of my time, and 
advise me how to proportion my studies and play, and I will keep 
them by me, and endeavor to follow them. 

With the present determination of growing better, I am, dear sir, 
your son, John Quincy Adams. 

P. S. Sir — If you will be so good as to fav(,r me with a blank 
book, I will transcribe the most remarkable passages I meet with 
in my reading, which will serve to tLx them upon my mind. 

After making all just allowance for precocity of 
genius, we cannot but see that the early maturity of 
the younger Adams proves the great advantage of pure 
and intellectual associations in childhood. 

The time soon arrived when John Quincy Adams 
was to enjoy advantages of education such as were 
never afforded to any other American youth. Among 
the earliest acts of the American Congress, was the 
appointment of Benjamin Franklin, Silas Dean, and 
Arthur Lee, as Commissioners to France ; they were 
charged to solicit aid from France, and to negotiate a 
treaty, by which tiie Independence of the United 
States should be acknowledged by Louis Sixteenth, 
then at the height of his popularity. Silas Dean was 
recalled in 1776, and John Adams was appointed to 
fill his place. He embarked on this mission the 13th 
of Februar}', 1778, in the frigate Boston, commanded 


by Captain Tucker. John Adams had gone down to 
Quincy, and the frigate called there to receive him on 
board. On the eve of embarkation he wrote the fol- 
lowing simple and touching letter to Mrs. Adams : 

" Uncle Quincy'' s, — half after 11 o'clock, 13 February, 1778. 

'" Dearest of Friends, 

" I had not been twenty minutes in this house, before I had the 
happiness to see Captain Tucker and a midshipman coming for me. 
We will be soon on board, and may God prosper our voyage in 
every stage of it as much as at the beginning, and send to you, my 
dear children, and all my friends, the choicest blessings ! 

" So wishes and prays yours, with an ardor that neither absence, 

nor any other event can abate, 

" John Adams. 

" P. S. Johnny sends his duty to his mamma, and his love to his 
bisters and brothers. He behaves hke a man." 

*' He behaves like a man !" — Words which gave 
presage of the future character of John Quincy Ad- 
ams. His education had now commenced : an educa- 
tion in the principles of heroic action, by John Adams, 
the colossus of the American Revolution. How de- 
voted he was to this important charge, and with what 
true philosophy he conducted it, may be seen by the 
following letter written about that time by bim, to 
Mrs. Adams : 

" Human nature, with all its infirmities and depravation, is still ca- 
pable of great things. It is capable of attaining to degrees of wis- 
dom and of goodness which we have reason to believe appear re- 
spectable in the estimation of superior intelligences. Education 
makes a greater difference between man and man, than nature has 
made between man and brute. The virtues and powers to which 


men may be trained, by early education and constant discipline, ara 
truly sublime and astonishing. 

" Newton and Locke are examples of the deep sagacity which may 
be acquired by long habits of thinking and study. Nay, your com- 
mon mechanics and artisans are proofs of the wonderful dexterity 
acquired by use ; a watchmaker, finishing his wheels and springs, 
a pin or needle-maker, &c. I think there is a particular occupation 
in Europe, which is called paper staining, or linen staining. A 
man who has long been habituated to it, shall sit for a whole day, 
and draw upon paper various figures, to be imprinted upon the pa- 
per for rooms, as fast as his eye can roll and his fingers move, and 
no two of his draughts shall be alike. The Saracens, the Knights 
of Malta, the army and navy in the service of the English Repub- 
lic, among many others, are instances to show to what an exalted 
height, valor or bravery or courage may be raised, by artificial 

" It should be your care therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds 
of our children, and exalt their courage, to accelerate and animate 
their industry and activity, to excite in them an habitual contempt 
of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an am- 
bition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer 
their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel and 
creep all their lives. 

*' But their bodies must be hardened, as well as their souls ex- 
alted. Without strength, and activity and vigor of body, the bright- 
est mental excellencies will be eclipsed and obscured. 

" John Adams." 

No one can read this extraordinary letter, and com- 
pare it with the actual character of John Quincy 
Adams as ultimately developed, without regarding that 
character as a fulfilment, in all respects, of the prayers 
and purposes of his illustrious parent. 

The voyage of the American Minister was made in 
a time of great peril. The naval supremacy of Great 

liff: of JOHN auiN'cv adams. 33 

Britain was already established. Her armed ships 
traversed the ocean in all directions. Captain Tuckei" 
saw a large English ship showing a row of guns, and 
with the consent of the Minister, engaged her. When 
hailed, she answered with a broadside. John Adams 
had been requested to retire to the cockpit, but when 
the engagement had begun, he was found among the 
marines, with a musket in his hands. 

The desired 'treaty with France had been consum- 
mated by Dr. Franklin, before the arrival of John 
Adams. After that event, Congress decided to have 
but one minister in that countrv, and Dr. Franklin 

mi • 

having deservedly received the appointment, John 
Adams asked and obtained leave to return home, after 
an absence of a year and a half. During that period 
the younger Adams attended a public school in Paris, 
while his leisure hours were filled with the instructions 
casually derived from the conversation of John Adams, 
and Dr. Franklin, and other eminent intellectual per- 
sons, by whom his father was surrounded. The im- 
provement of the son during his sojourn abroad is thus 
mentioned by John Adams, just before his embark- 
ation on his return to America. 

" My son has had a great opportunity to see this 
country, but this has unavoidably retarded his educa- 
tion in some other things. He has enjoyed perfect 
health from first to last, and is respected wherever he 
goes, for his vigor and vivacity both of mind and 
body ; for his constant good-humor, and for his rapid 


progress in French, as well as in general linowledge, 
which, for his age, is uncommon." 

John Adams now regarded his public life as closed. 
He wrote to Mrs. Adams : 

*' The Congress, I presume, expect that I should 
come home, and I shall come accordingly. As they 
have no business for me in Europe, I must contrive to 
get some for myself at home. Prepare yourself for 
removing to Boston, into the old house, for there you 
shall go, and I will draw writs and deeds, and harangue 
juries, and be happy." 

This calculation was signally erroneous, as all cal- 
culations upon personal ease and peace by great and 
good men always are. He remained at home only 
three months, and during that time he had other and 
higher occupations than drawing writs and deeds. 
He was elected Delegate to the Convention charged 
with the responsible and novel duty of forming a writ- 
ten constitution for Massachusetts. In that body he 
labored with untiring assiduity, as in Congress ; the 
constitution thus produced was in a great measure 
prepared by himself, and it is due to his memory to 
record the fact, that it was among the most demo- 
cratic of all the constitutions which were adopted by 
the new States. The younger Adams having returned 
to America with his father, had thus the advantage of 
seeing republican theories brought into successful, 
practical application. 

i^bout this time Congress resolved on sending a 


Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain, to negotiate, 
if possible, a treaty of peace. John Adams and John 
Jay received each an equal number of votes. The 
result v^^as the appointment of Mr. Jay as Minister to 
Spain, and of John Adams as Minister to the Court of 
St. James. He was instructed to insist on the inde- 
pendence of the United States. 

The younger Adams again attended the Diplomatist. 
They embarked in the French frigate La Sensible, on 
the 17th of November, 1779. 

The frigate sprang a leak, and was obliged to put 
into the port nearest at hand, which proved to be Fer- 
rol in Spain. They disembarked on the 11th of De- 
cember, and traversed the intervening distance to Paris 
over land, a journey of a thousand miles. This jour- 
ney was performed through the itiountains on mules. 
Spain, as well as France, was then in alliance with 
America, and the Minister was everywhere received 
with respect and kindness. The French officers at 
Ferrol wore cockades in honor of the Triple Alliance, 
combining a white ribbon for the French, a red one 
for the Spanish, and a black one for the Americans. 

The United Powers proposed demands which were 
ominous of disappointment to the Minister. — On the 
12th of December he wrote : — " It is said that England 
is as reluctant to acknowledge the independence of 
America, as to cede Gibraltar, the last of which is in- 
sisted upon, as well as the first." 

The travellers reached Paris about the middle of 


February, 1780. John Adams mentioned a singular 
coincidence in his letter announcing their arrival. " 1 
have the honor to be lodged here with no less a per- 
sonage than the Prince of Hesse-Cassel, who is here 
upon a visit. We occupy different apartments in the 
same house, and have no intercourse with each other, 
to be sure ; but some wags are of opinion, that if I 
were authorised to open a negotiation with him, I 
might obtain from him as many troops to fight on our 
side of the question, as he has already hired to the 
English against us /" 

The American Revolution has wrousjht wonderful 
changes since that day. No German Prince could now 
send a man, or a musket, to war against its principles. 

John Adams soon discovered that there was no pros- 
pect of success for his mission to England. He re- 
mained at Paris until August, 1780, and during the in- 
terval his son was kept at an academy in that city. 

At the expiration of that period the Minister repaired 
to Holland, and there received instructions to nego- 
tiate a loan, and then a treaty of amity and commerce 
with the states of that country. The younger Adams 
while in Holland was placed at school, first at Amster- 
dam, and afterwards in the University of Leyden. 

A letter of the father, dated at Amsterdam, 18th De- 
cember, 1780, gives us a glimpse of the system of in- 
struction approved by him, and a pleasant view of the 
principles which he deemed it important to be incul- 


" I have this morning sent Mr. Thaxter with my two 
sons to Leyden, there to take up their residence for 
some time, and there to pursue their studies of* Latin 
and Greek under the excellent masters, and there to 
attend lectures of the celebrated professors in that Uni- 
versity. It is much cheaper there than here. The 
air is infinitely purer, and the company and conversa- 
tion are better. It is perhaps as learned a University 
as any in Europe. 

*' I should not wish to have children educated in the 
common schools of this countrv, where a littleness of 
soul is notorious. The masters are mean spirited 
wretches, pinching, kicking, and boxing the children 
upon every turn. There is, besides, a general littleness, 
arising from the incessant contemplation of stivers and 
doits, which pervades the whole people. 

" Frugality and industry are virtues everywhere, but 
avarice and stinginess are not frugality. The Dutch 
say, that without a habit of thinking of every doit be- 
fore you spend it, no man can be a good merchant, or 
conduct trade with success. 

" This, I believe, is a just maxim in general ; but I 
would never wish to see a son of mine govern himself 
by it. It is the sure and certain way for an industrious 
man to be rich. It is the only possible way for a mei'- 
chant to become the first merchant, or the richest man 
in the place. But this is an object that I hope none of 
my children will ever aim at. It is indeed true every- 


where, that those who attend to small expenses are al- 
ways rich. 

'' I would have my children attend to doits and far- 
things as devoutly as the merest Dutchman upon earth, 
if such attention was necessary to support their inde- 
pendence. A man who discovers a disposition and a 
design to be independent, seldom succeeds. A jeal- 
ousy arises against him. The tyrants are alarmed on 
the one side, lest he should oppose them : the slaves 
are alarmed on the other, lest he should expose their 
servility. The cry from all quarters is, * He is the 
froudest man in the world : he cannot hear to he under 

'* I never in my life observed any one endeavoring 
to lay me under particular obligation to him, but I sus- 
pected he had a design to make me his dependent, and 
to have claims upon my gratitude. This I should 
nave no objection to, because gratitude is always in 
one's power. But the danger is, that men will expect 
and require more of us than honor, and innocence, 
and rectitude will permit us to perform. 

" In our country, however, any man, with common 
industry and prudence, may be independent." 

One cannot turn over a page of the domestic history 
of John Adams, without finding a precept or example, 
the influence of which is manifested in the character 
of his illustrious son. Thus he writes to Mrs. Adams, 
touching certain calumnies which had been propagated 
against him : — 


**Don't distress yourself about any malicious at- 
tempts to injure me in the estimation of my country- 
men. Let tiiem take their course, and go the length 
of their tether. They will never hurt your husband, 
whose character is fortified with a shield of innocence 
and honor, ten thousand-fold stronger than brass or 
iron. The contemptible essays, made by you know 
whom, will only tend to their own confusion. My let- 
ters have shown them their own ignorance, a sight 
they could not bear. Say as little about it as I do. 
I laugh, and will laugh before all posterity, at their 
impotent rage and envy." 

In July, 1781, Francis Dana, who had attended John 
Adams as Secretary of Legation, was appointed Min- 
ister to Russia. John Quincy Adams, then fourteen 
years old, was appointed Private Secretazy of this 
mission. He remained at that post fourteen months, 
performing its duties with entire satisfaction to the 
minister. The singular ripeness ot" the youthful secre- 
tary was shown in his travelling alone, on his return 
from St. Petersburgh, by a journey leisurely made, 
and filled with observations of Sweden, Denmark, 
Hamburgh, and Bremen. On arriving in Holland, he 
resumed his studies at the Hague. 

John Adams, having completed his mission in Hol- 
land, was charged, with Dr. Franklin, John Jay, and 
Thomas Jefferson, with the duty of negotiating a 
definitive treaty of peace with Great Britain, The 
treaty was executed at Paris on the 3d of Septem- 


ber, 1783, and was ratified January 14th, 1784. The 
younger Adams enjoyed the satisfaction of being pres- 
ent at the conclusion of the treaty ; and while it was 
under process of negotiation, he was constantly fa- 
vored with opportunities of listening to the. instructive 
conversation of Franklin and Jefferson. 

The negotiation of the treaty was dilatory in the 
extreme. It was embarrassed with French intrigues, 
great carelessness at home, and greater reluctance on 
the part of England. The wearied Minister wrote to 
Mrs. Adams on the 30th of May, 1783: "Our son is 
at the Hague, pursuing his studies with great ardor. 
They give him a good character wherever he has 
been, and I hope he will make a good man." On the 
9th of June he wrote in these homely, but manly 
words : '* I am weary, worn, and disgusted to death. 
I had rather chop wood, dig ditches, and make fence 
upon my poor little farm. Alas, poor farm ! and poorer 
family ! what have you lost that your country might 
be free ! and that others miirht catch fish and hunt 
deer and bears at their ease ! 

" There will be as few of the tears of gratitude, or the 
smiles of admiration, or the sighs of pity for us, as for 
the army. But all this should not hinder me from go- 
ing over the same scenes again, upon the same occa- 
sions — scenes which I would not encounter for all the 
wealth, pomp, and power of the world. Boys! if you 
ever say one word, or utter one complaint, I will disin- 
herit you. Work ! you rogues, and be free. You 


will never have so hard work, to do as papa has had 
Daughter ! get you an honest man for a husband, ano 
keep hull honest. No matter whether he is rich, pro 
vided he be independent. Regard the honor and the 
moral character of the man, more than all circum- 
stances. Think of no other greatness but that of the 
soul, no other riches but those of the heart." 

After concluding the treaty of peace, John Adams, 
together with Franklin and Jay, was charged with the 
duty of negotiating a treaty of commerce with Great 
Britain, and John Adams, taking his son John Quincy 
with him, proceeded to London, and took up his resi- 
dence at the British Court. Mrs. Adams embarked in 
June, 1784, to join her husband. 

John Adams was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary 
to the same Court in 1785, and thus he, who ten years 
before, when a subject, in the province of Massachu- 
setts, had said, '* / know that Great Britain has deter- 
mined upon her system, and that very determination 
determines me on mine,"" — was the first Representative 
of his independent country admitted to an audience 
by the discomfited majesty of the Imperial States. 
The occasion was adapted to excite profound emotions, 
though of different kinds, in each party. John Adams 
addressed the King thus : — 

*' The United States of America have appointed me 
their Minister Plenipotentiary to your Majesty, and 
have directed me to deliver to your Majesty this letter, 
which contains the evidence of it. It is in obedience 


to their express commands, that I have the honor to 
assure your Majesty of then- unanimous disposition 
and desire to cultivate the most liberal and friendly in- 
tercourse between your Majesty's subjects and their 
citizens ; and of their best wishes for your Majesty's 
health and happiness, and for that of your royal family. 
" The appointment of a Minister from the United 
States to your Majesty's Court, will form an epoch in 
the history of England, and of America. I think my- 
self more fortunate than all my fellow citizens, in hav- 
ing the distinguished honor to be the first to stand in 
your Majesty's royal presence, in a diplomatic charac- 
ter ; and I shall esteem myself the happiest of men, if 
I can be instrumental in recommending my country 
more and more, to your Majesty's royal benevolence, 
and of restoring an entire esteem, confidence and af- 
fection, or in better words, ' the old good nature, and 
the old good harmony,' between people, who, though 
separated by an ocean, and under different govern- 
ments, have the same language, a similar religion, and 
kindred blood. I beg your Majesty's permission to 
add, that although I have sometimes before been in- 
trusted by my country, it was never, in my whole life, 
in a manner so agreeable to myself" 

George III. replied with dignity, but not without some 
manifestations of excitement : — 

" The circumstances of this audience are so extraor- 
dinary, the language you have now held is so extremely 
oroper, and the feelings you have discovered so justly 


adapted to the occasion, that I must say that I not only 
receive with pleasure the assurances of the friendly 
disposition of the People of the United States, but I 
am very glad the choice has fallen upon you to be their 
Minister. I wish you, sir, to believe, and that it may 
be understood in America, that I have done nothing in 
the late contest, but what I thought myself indispensa- 
bly bound to do, by the duty w^hich I owed my people. 
I will be frank with you — I was the last to conform to 
the separation, but the separation having been made, 
and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I 
say now, that I would be the first to meet the friend- 
ship of the United States, as an independent power. 

" The moment I see such sentiments and language as 
yours prevail, and a disposition to give this country 
the preference, that moment I shall say, let the cir- 
cumstances of language, religion and blood have their 
natural and full effect." 

The kindly feelings expressed by the King, were 
however, comparatively, only the language of cere 
mony, for the British Ministry, and the British people 
did not regard the new republic with favor. But the} 
could not withhold the exhibition of reluctant respect 

It was at such a time as this, and in such circum 
stances, that John Quincy Adams surveyed, from a 
new position, the colossal structure of British power, 
and the workings of its combined systems of conserva- 
tive aristocracy, and progressive democracy. It was 
here that he imbibed new veneration for Russell, Sid- 


ney, Hampden, and Milton, its republican patriots ; 
for Shakspeare, Dryden, and Pope, its immortal poets ; 
and for Addison and Johnson, its moralists ; here he 
learned from Wilberforce the principles of political ^ 

philanthropy, as well as the patience and persever- 
ance to defend them, and studied eloquence by the liv- 
ing models of Pitt, Fox, Erskine, Burke, and Sheridan. 

This, indeed, was a fitting conclusion to a precocious 
education by the patriots and philosophers of his own 
country, with practical observations in the courts of 
Spain and the Netherlands, of the weak but amiable 
Louis XVI., and the accomplished, but depraved, 
Catharine II. 

John Quincy Adams now became fearful that the 
duties of manhood would devolve upon him without 
his having completed the necessary academic studies. 
He therefore obtained leave to return home in 1785, 
at the age of eighteen years, and entered Cambridge 
University, at an advanced standing, in 1786. He 
graduated in 1788 with deserv^ed honors. 




After leaving the University, young Adams en- 
tered the office of Theophilus Parsons, who was then 
in the practice of law at Newburyport, and who after- 
wards for so many years filled with dignity and ability 
the office of Chief Justice of Massachusetts. 

Adams completed the usual term of professional 
study, and then commenced the practice of the law in 
Boston. It may encourage some who are oppressed 
by the difficulties attending initiation in the profession, 
to know, that during the first and only four years of 
John Quincy Adams' practice, he, had occasion, for 


" I had lon^ and lins^ering anxieties, (he afterwards 
said,) in looking forward, doubtful even of my pros- 
pects of comfortable subsistence, but acquiring more 
and more the means of it, till in the last of the four 
years, the business of my profession yielded me an in- 
come more than equal to my expenditures." 

But the country and the age had claims on John 
Quincy Adams, as well as on his father, for higher 




duties than " making writs," and " haranguing juries,** 
and " being happy." 

The American Revolution, which had been brought 
to a successful close, had inspired, throughout Europe, 
a desire to renovate the institutions of government. 
The officers and citizens of France who had mingled 
in the contest, had carried home the seeds of freedom, 
and had scattered them abroad upon soil quick to re- 
ceive them. The flame of Libertv, kindled on the 
shores of the Western Continent, was reflected back 
upon the Old World. PVance beheld its beams, and 
hailed them as a beacon-light, which should lead the 
nations out from the bondage of ages. Inspirited by 
the success attending the struggle in the British colo- 
ries, the French people, long crushed beneath a grind- 
ing despotism, resolved to burst their shackles and 
strike for Freedom. It was a noble resolution, but 
consummated, alas ! amid devastation and the wildest 
anarchy. The French Revolution filled the world 
with horror. It was the work of a blind giant, urged 
to fury by the remembrance of wrongs endured for 
generations. The Altar of Liberty was reared amid 
seas of blood, and stained with the gore of innocent 

The measurable failure of this struggle in France, 
teaches the necessity of due preparation before a 
people can advance to the permanent possession and 
enjoyment of their rights. The American colonists 
nad been trained to rational conceptions of freedom, by 


lessons of wisdom and sagacity read them by their 
Puritan fathers, and by the experience in self-govern- 
ment, afforded during a century and a half of enjoy- 
ment of a large share of political privileges, granted by 
the mother country. They were thus prepared to lay 
deep and strong the foundations of an enlightened gov- 
ernment, which, equally removed from the extremes of 
despotism on the one hand, and anarchy on the other, 
and granting its subjects the exercise of their right 
to " life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," shall 
endure through ages to come. But the people of 
France, shut up in darkness during centuries of mis- 
rule, passed at a step from abject servitude to unlim- 
ited freedom. They were unprepared for this violent 
transition. Their conceptions of liberty were of the 
most extravagant description. What wonder that 
they became dizzy at their sudden elevation ! What 
wonder that blood flowed in rivers ! — that dissension 
and faction rent them asunder — that a fearful anarchy 
soon reigned triumphant — or that the confused and 
troubled drama closed in the iron rule of a military 
conqueror — the Man of Destiny ! Let not this lesson 
be lost upon the world. Let a people who would 
enjoy freedom, learn to merit the boon by the study of 
its principles, and a preparation to exercise its privi- 
leges, under those salutary restraints which man can 
never throw off and be happy ! 

The odium excited throughout Europe by the ex- 
csujses of the French Revolution, was heaped without 


measure upon the American people. They were, 
charged with the origin of the misrule which con- 
vulsed France, and filled the eastern hemisphere with 
alarm : and were tauntingly pointed to the crude the- 
ories promulgated by French democracy, and the fail- 
ure of their phrenzied efforts to establish an enlightened 
and permanent Republic, as conclusive evidence that 
self-government, among any people, was a mere Uto- 
pian dream, which could never be realized. 

The establishment of a republican government in 
America, had not been relished by the monarchies of 
Europe. They looked upon it with distrust, as a pre- 
cedent dangerous to them in the highest degree. The 
succor which Louis XVI. had rendered the revolting 
colonists, was not from a love of democratic institu- 
tions : it was his hope to cripple Great Britain, his 
ancient enemy, and to find some opportunity, perhaps, 
lo win back his Canadian provinces, which had so re- 
cently been rent from his possession. When the 
pent-up flames of revolution burst forth at the very 
doors of the governments of the old world — when 
the PVench throne had been robbed of its kinsr, and 
that king of his life — when a Republic had been pro- 
claimed in their midst, and signal-notes of freedom 
were ringing in their borders — they becamo seriously 
alarmed. The growing evil must be check<*d imme- 
aiately. Led on by England, the continental powers 
combined to exterminate at a blow, if possible, every 
vestige of Republicanism in France. Then commenced 


the long series of bloody wars, which, with little in- 
termission, convulsed Europe for nearly a quarter of a 
century, and ceased only when the rock of St. Helena 
received its lonely exile. 

In the meantime affairs at home had attained to a 
critical juncture. The Constitution had been adopted. 
The new government had been set in operation under 
tie supervision of Washington, as the first President 
of the Republic. The people, influenced by certain 
" elective affinities," had become sundered into two 
great political parties — Conservative and Progressive, 
or Federal and Democratic. Both were distrustful of 
the Constitution. The former believed it too weak to 
consolidate a government capable of protecting its 
subjects in the peaceful enjoyment of their rights, from 
discord within, and attacks from without. The latter 
apprehended that it might easily be transformed, by some 
ambitious Napoleon, into an instrument of oppression 
more fearful even than the limited monarchy from 
which they had but recently escaped, at an expense of 
so much blood and treasure. Each of these parties are 
entitled to the credit of equal sincerity and honesty of 

Washington, with a loftiness of purpose truly char- 
acteristic of a great and good mind, refused to identify 
himself with either party. In forming his first cabinet, 
moved with a desire to heal the dissensions which dis- 
tracted the country, he selected its members equally 
from the adverse factions. Hamilton and Knox rep- 


resented the Federal party, and Jefferson and Randolph 
the opposite. During his entire administration, " the 
Father of his country" steadily aimed to keep himself 
clear from all party entanglements. He was emphati- 
cally the President of the whole people, and not of a 
faction. His magnanimous spirit would not stoop to 
party favoritism, nor allow him to exercise the power 
entrusted him, to promote the interests of any political 
clique. In all his measures his great object was to 
advance the welfare of the nation, without regard to 
their influence on conflicting parties. In these things 
he left behind him a pure and noble example, richl? 
worthy the imitation of his successors in that higb 

The Revolution in France, and the measures adopted 
by the Allied Sovereigns to arrest its progress, excited 
the liveliest interest among the people of the United 
States. But their sympathies ran indifferent channels, 
and very naturally took the hue of their party predi- 
lections. The Democrats, believing the French Revo- 
lution to be the up-springing of the same principles 
which had triumphed here — a lawful attempt of an 
oppressed people to secure the exercise of inalienable 
lights — although shuddering at the excesses which had 
been perpetrated, still felt it to be our own cause, and 
insisted that we were in honor and duty bound to 
render all the assistance in our power, even to a resort 
to arms, if need be. The Federalists, on the other 
hand, were alarmed at the anarchical tendencies in 


France. They were fearful that law, order, govern- 
ment, and society itself, would be utterly and speedily 
swept away, unless the revolutionary movement was 
arrested. Cherishing these apprehensions, they were 
disposed to favor the views of Great Britain and other 
European powers, and were anxious that the gv>/ern 
ment of the United States should adopt some active 
measures to assist in checking what they could not but 
view as rapid strides to political and social anarchy. 
However the two parties differed as to the measures 
proper to be adopted in this crisis, they were united in 
the conviction that our government should take some 
part as a belligerant, in these European struggles ; ana 
exerted each its influence to bring about such an in- 
terference as would be in accordance with their con- 
flicting views of duty and expediency. 

There was residing, at this period, in Boston, a young 
and nearly briefless lawyer, whose views on these im- 
portant matters differed materially from those enter- 
tained by both parties. It was John Quincy Adams. 
While he could not countenance the attempts of the 
Allied Powers to destroy the French Republic, and re- 
establish a monarchy, he was equally far from favoring 
the turn which affairs were clearly taking in that un- 
happy country. lie evidently foresaw the French 
Revolution would prove a failure ; and that it was 
engcdering an influence which, unchecked, would be 
deeply injurious to American liberty and order. To 
counteract this tendency, he published in the Boston 


Centinel, in 1791, a series of articles, signed *' Publicola," 
in which he discussed with great ability, the wild va- 
garies engendered among political writers in France, 
and which had been caught up by man}^ in our own 
country. These articles attracted much attention, both 
at home and abroad. They were re-published in Eng- 
land, as an answer to several points in Paine's " Rights 
of Man." So profound was the political sagacity they 
displayed, and so great the familiarity with public 
affairs, that they were, by general consent, attributed to 
the elder Adams. On this subject, John Adams writes 
his wife as follows, from Philadelphia, on the 5th 
December, 1793 : — 

" The Viscount Noailles called on me. * * * * He seemed very 
critical in his inquiries concerning the letters printed as mine in 
England. I told him candidly that I did not write them, and as 
frankly, in confidence, who did. He says they made a great im- 
pression upon the people of England ; that he heard Mr. Windham 
and Mr. Fox speak of them as the best thing that had been written, 
and as one of the best pieces of reasoning and style they had ever 

The younger Adams, in surve3ang the condition of the 
country at this critical period, became convinced it 
would be a fatal step for the new government to take 
sides with either of the great parties in Europe, who 
were engaged in the settlement of their difficulties by 
the arbitrement of arms. However strongly our sym- 
pathies were ehcited in behalf of the French Re- 
public — however we may have been bound in gratitude 
for the assistance rendered us during our Revolution- 


ary struggle, to co-operate with France in her defence 
of popular institutions — still, self-preservation is the 
first law of nature. Mr. Adams saw, that to throw 
ourselves into the melee of European conflicts, would 
prostrate the interests of the country, and peril the very 
existence of the government. 

These views he embodied in a series of articles, 
which he published in the Boston Centinei, in 1793, 
under the signature of " Marcellus/' He insisted it 
was alike the dictate of duty and policy, that the 
United States should remain strictly neutral between 
France and her enemies. These papers attracted 
general attention throughout the Union, and made a 
marked impression on the public mind. They were 
read by Washington, with expressions of the highest 
satisfaction ; and he made particular inquiries respect- 
ing the author. 

The position of Mr. Adams on neutrality was new, 
and in opposition to the opinions of the great mass of 
the country. To him, it is believed, belongs the honor 
of first publicly advocating this line of policy, which 
afterwards became a settled principle of the American 
government. Non-interference with foreign affairs, is a 
principle to which the Union has rigidly adhered to the 
present hour. In these articles too, Mr. Adams devel- 
oped the political creed which governed him through life 
in regard to two great principles — union at home, and 
independence of all foreign alliances or entanglements 


— independence not only politically, but in manufactures 
and in commerce. 

On the 25th of April, 1793, Washington issued a 
proclamation, announcing the neutrality of the United 
States between the belligerent nations of Europe. 
This proclamation was not issued until after Mr. 
Adams' articles urscinjT this course had been before the 
public for some time. It is an honorable testimony to 
the sagacity of his views, that Washington, and the 
eminent men composing his cabinet, adopted a policy 
which coincided so perfectly with opinions he had 
formed purely from the strength of his own convictions. 
The proclamation pleased neither of the belligerent 
nations in Europe. It aroused the enmity of both; 
and laid open our commerce to the depredations of all 
parties, on the plea that the American government 
was inimical to their interests. 

While in the practice of law in Boston, Mr. Adams 
was not well satisfied with his condition or prospects. 
That he was laudably ambitious to arise to distinction 
n some honorable line is quite certain. But. singular 
as it may appear at this day, in view of his early life, 
and his acknowledged talents, he was not looking for, 
nor expecting, political preferment. These facts ap- 
pear in the following passages from his diary, written 
at that time ; and which, moreover, will be found to 
contain certain rules of action for life, which the 
young men of our country should studiously seek to 


" Wednesday, May 16th, 1792. I am not satisfied with the man- 
ner in which I employ my time. It is calculated to keep me forever 
fixed in that state of useless and disgraceful insignificancy, which 
has been my lot for some years past. At an age bearing close upon 
twenty -five, when many of the characters who were born for the 
benefit of their fellow-creatures have rendered themselves conspic- 
uous among their cotemporaries, and founded a reputation upon 
which their memory remains, and will continue to the latest pos- 
terity — at that period, I still find myself as obscure, as unknown to 
the world, as the most indolent, or the most stupid of human beings. 
In the walks of active life I have done nothing. Fortune, indeed, 
who claims to herself a large proportion of the merit which ex- 
hibits to public view the talents of professional men, at an early 
period of their lives, has not hitherto been peculiarly indulgent to 
me. But if to my own mind I inquire whether I should, at thi^ 
time, be qualified to receive and derive any benefit from an oppor 
tunity which it may be in her power to procure for me, my own mine* 
would shrink from the investigation. My heart is not conscious of 
an unworthy ambition ; nor of a desire to establish either fame 
honor, or fortune upon any other foundation than that of desert 
But it is conscious, and the consideration is equally painful and hu- 
miliating, it is conscious that the ambition is constant and unceasing, 
while the exertions to acquire the talents which ought alone to 
secure the reward of ambition, are feeble, indolent, frequently in- 
terrupted, and never pursued with an ardor equivalent to its purposes. 
My future fortunes in life are, therefore, the objects of my present 
speculation, and it may be proper for rne to reflect further upon the 
same subject, and if possible, to adopt some resolutions which may 
enable me, as uncle Toby Shandy said of his miniature sieges, to 
answer the great ends of my existence. 

" First, then, I begin with establishing as a fundamental principle 
upon which all my subsequent pursuits and regulations are to be 
established, that the acquisition, at least, of a respectable reputation 
is (subject to the overruhng power and wisdom of Providence,) 
within my own power ; and that on my part nothing is wanting, but 
a constant and persevering determination to tread in the steps which 
naturally lead to honor. And, at the same time, I am equally con- 
vinced, that I never shall attain that credit in the world, which my 
nature directs me to wish, without such a steady, patient, and per- 


severing pursuit of the means adapted to the end I have in vievi^, as 
has often been the subject of my speculation, but never of my 

'Labor and toil stand stern before the throne, 
And guard — so Jove commands — the sacred place.' 

" The mode of hfe adopted almost universally by my cotempo- 
raries and equals is by no means calculated to secure the object of 
my ambition. My emulation is seldom stimulated by observing the 
industry and application of those whom my situation in life gives 
me for companions. The pernicious and childish opinion that ex- 
traordinary genius cannot brook the slavery of plodding over the 
rubbish of antiquity (a cant so common among the heedless votaries 
of indolence), dulls the edge of all industry, and is one of the most 
powerful ingredients in the Circean potion which transforms many 
of the most promising young men into the beastly forms which, in 
sluggish idleness, feed upon the labors of others. The degenerate 
sentiment, I hope, v/ill never obtain admission in my mind ; and, if 
my mind should be loitered away in stupid laziness, it will be under 
the full conviction of my conscience that I am basely bartering the 
greatest benefits with which human beings can be indulged, for the 
miserable gratifications which are hardly worthy of contributing to 
the enjoyments of the brute creation. 

" And as I have grounded myself upon the principle, that my 
character is, under the smiles of heaven, to be the work of my ovi^n 
hands, it becomes necessary for me to dctermiije upon what part 
of active or of speculative life I mean to rest my pretensions to 
eminence. My own situation and that of my country equally pro- 
hibit me from seeking to derive any present expectations from a pub- 
lic career. My disposition is not military ; and, happily, the warlike 
talents are not those which open the most pleasing or the most repu- 
table avenue to fame. I have had some transient thoughts of un- 
dertaking some useful literary performance, but the pursuit would 
militate too much at present with that of the profession upon which 
I am to depend, not only for my reputation, but for my subsistence. 

" I have, therefore, concluded that the most proper object of my 
present attention is that profession itself. And in acquiring the 
faculty to discharge the duties of it, in a manner suitable to my own 
wishes and the expectations of my friends, I find ample room for 
close and attentive application ; for frequent and considerate obser- 


vation ; and for such benefits of practical experience as occasional 
opportunities may throw in the way," 

The followinc^ letter from John Adams, at this time 
Vice President of the United States, written to his 
wife at Quincy, will be interesting, as showing, among 
other things, his anxiety that his sons should make 
some start in life, which would give promise of future 
usefulness. He was far from believing that sons 
should repose in idleness on the reputation or wealth 
of parents. 

''Philadelphia, 2 March, 1793. 
"My Deae, 

" Your letter from your sick chamber, if not from your sick bed, 
has made me so uneasy, that I must get away as soon as possible. 
Monday morning", at six, I am to set off in the stage ; but how 
many days it will take to get home, will depend on the roads or the 
winds. I don't believe Abby [his daughter,] will go with me. Her 
husband [Col. William S. Smith,] is so proud of his wealth, that he 
would not let her go, I suppose, without a coach-and-four ; and 
such monarchical trumpery I will in future have nothing to do with. 
T will never travel but by stage, nor live at the seat of government 
but at lodgings, while they give me so despicable an allowance. 
Shiver my jib and start my planks if I do ! 

" I will stay but one night in New York. Smith says that my 
books are upon the table of every member of the Committee for 
framing a constitution of government for France, except Tom 
Paine, and he is so conceited as to disdain to have anything to do 
with books. Although I abused Smith a little above, he is very 
clever and agreeable ; but I have been obliged to caution him against 
his disposition to boasting. Tell not of your prosperity, because it 
will make two men mad to one glad; nor of your adversity, for it 
will make two men glad to one sad. He boasts too much of having 
made his fortune, and placed himself at ease, above all favors of 
government. This is a weakness, and betrays too little knowledge 
of the world ; too little penetration ; too little discretion. I wish, 


however, that my boys had a little more of his activity. I must 
soon treat them as the pigeons treat their squabs — push them off 
the limb, and make them put out their wings or fall. Young 
pigeons will never fly till this is done. Smith has acquired the con- 
fidence of the French ministry, and the better sort of the members 
of the National Convention. But the Executive is too chantreable 
in that country to be depended on, without the utmost caution. 

" Adieu, adieu, tendrement, J. A." 

One of the sons of the noble patriot, soon " put out 
his wings," and soared, uhimately, to a pinnacle of 
honor and renown attained by few among men. In 
the winter of 1793 and 1794, the public mind had be- 
come highly excited from the inflammatory appeals in 
behalf of France, by Citizen Genet, the French Minis- 
ter to the United States. A large portion of the anti- 
Federal party took sides with Mr. Genet, against the 
neutral position of our Government, and seemed deter- 
mined to plunge the Union into the European contest, 
in aid of the French Republic. Some idea may be 
obtained of the excitement which prevailed at this 
time, and of the perilous condition of the country, by 
an extract or two from letters of Vice-President John 
Adams. In a letter dated Philadelphia, Dec. 5, 1793, 
he writes as follows : — 

" It Avill require all the address, all the temper, and all the firm- 
ness of Congress and the States, to keep this people out of the war ; 
or rather, to avoid a declaration of war against us, from some mis- 
chievous power or other. It is but little that I can do, either by the 
functions which the Constitution has entrusted to me, or by my per- 
sonal influence ; but that little shall be industriously employed, un- 
til it is put beyond a doubt that it will be fruitless; and then, I shall 
be as ready to meet unavoidable calamities, as any other citizen." 


Under date of Jan. 9, 1794, he says : — 

" The prospects of this country are gloomy, but the situation of 
All Europe is calamitous beyond all former examples. At what 
time, and in what manner, and by what means, the disasters which 
are come, and seem to be coming on mankind, may be averted, I 
know not. Our own people have been imprudent, as I think, and 
are now smarting under the effects of their indiscretion ; but this, 
instead of a consolation, i^ an aggravation of our misfortune. Mr. 
Genet has been abusive on the President [Washington] and all his 
ministers, beyond all measure of decency or obligations of truth, 
and in other respects, not yet publicly investigated, his conduct has 
been such as to make it difficult to know what to do with him. 
***** The news of this evening is, that the Queen of France 
is no more.* When will savages be satiated with blood ? No 
prospect of peace in Europe, and therefore none of internal harmony 
in America. We cannot well be in a more disagreeable situation 
than we are with all Europe, with all Indians, and with all Barbary 
rovers. Nearly one half of the Continent is in constant opposition 
to the other, and the President's situation, which is highly respon- 
sible, is very distressing." 

It taxed the wisdom and skill of Mr Jefferson, then 
Secretary of State, to counteract the influence of the 
French Minister, and prevent citizens of the United 
States from committing overt acts against the Allied 
Sovereigns, and embroiling the Union in a foreign war. 
In this endeavor he was greatly assisted by the pen of 
Mr. J. Q. Adams. This gentleman wrote a series of 
essays for the public prints, under the signature of 
** Columbus," reviewing the course of Mr. Genet. In 
these articles, he. pointed out, with great clearness, the 
principles of the law of nations applicable to the situ- 

* Marie Antoinette was beheaded in Paris, on the 16th of October, 


ation of the country in the neutral line of policy which 
had been wisely adopted. 

In reference to this topic, John Adams writes his 
wife, as follows, under date of Dec. 19, 1793 : — 

" The President has considered th^ conditct of Genet very 
nearly in the same Ijght with ' Columbus,' and has given him a bolt 
of thunder. We shall see how this is supported by the two Houses. 
There are who gnash their teeth with rage which they dare not 
own as yet. We shall soon see whether we have any government 
OT not in this country." 

The political writings of the younger Adams had 
now brought him prominently before the public. They 
attracted the especial attention of Mr. Jefferson, who 
saw in them a vastness of comprehension, a maturity 
of judgment and critical discrimination, which gave 
large promise of future usefulness and eminence. Be- 
fore his retirement from the State Department, he com- 
mended the youthful statesman to the favorable regard 
of President Washington, as one pre-eminently fitted 
for pubhc service. 

General Washington, although a soldier by profes- 
sion, was a lover of peace. His policy during his ad- 
ministration of the government, was pre-eminently 
pacific. Convinced that, in the infant state of the 
Union, war with a foreign nation could result onlv in 
evil and ruin, he was anxious to cultivate the most 
friendly relations with foreign governments, and to 
carry out, both in letter and spirit, the strict neutrality 
he had proclaimed. To declare and maintain these 


principles abroad, and to form political and commer- 
cial relations with European powers, Washington looked 
anxiously around for one fitted for a mission so im- 
portant. His attention soon became fixed on John 
Quincy Adams. He saw in him qualities not only of 
deep political sagacity, and views of policy at unity 
with his own, but a familiarity with the languages and 
customs of foreisrn courts, which marked him as one 
every way calculated to represent our government with 
credit in the old world. He accordingly, in May, 1794, 
appointed Mr. Adams Minister of the United States at 
the Hague. 

That this prominent appointment was as flattering to 
Mr. Adams as it was unexpected, is naturally true. It 
was the more to his credit in consideration of the fact, 
that in those days elevation to offices of this importance 
was the award of merit and talent, and not the result 
of importunity, or the payment of party services. Mr. 
Adams was at this time in the twenty-seventh year of 
his age — a younger man, undoubtedly, than has since 
ever been selected by our Government to fulfil a trust 
so important. But the ability and discretion of the 
young diplomatist, and the success which attended his 
negotiations in Europe, so creditable to himself and his 
country, fully justified the wisdom of Washington in 
selecting him for this important duty. 

Although the father of Mr. Adams was then Vice 
President of the United States, yet it is well known his 
appointment on a foreign mission was obtained without 


the influence or even the request of his parent. It is 
not strictly correct, however, as stated by several bi- 
ographers, that he was selected for the mission to Hol- 
land without any previous intimation of the President's 
intentions to his father. This is made evident by the 
following extract of a letter from John Adams to his 
"wife, dated Philadelphia, 27th May, 1794, conveying 
intelligence which must have made a mother's heart 
swell with honest pride and satisfaction : — 

" It is proper that I should apprize you, that the President has it 
in contemplation to send your son to Holland, that you may recol- 
lect yourself and prepare for the event. I make this communica- 
tion to you in confidence, at the desire of the President, communi- 
cated to me yesterday by the Secretary of State. You must keep 
it an entire secret until it shall be announced to the public in the 
journal of the Senate. But our son must hold himself in readiness 
to come to Philadelphia, to converse Vi^ith the President, Secretary 
of State, Secretary of the Treasury, &.C., and receive his commis- 
sions and instructions, without loss of time. He will go to Provi- 
dence in the stage, and thence to New York by water, and thence 
to Philadelphia in the stage. He will not set ojit, however, until 
he is informed of his appointment." 

" Your son !" is the phrase by which the father 
meant to convey his own sense of how large a part the 
mother had in training that son ; and to enhance the 
compliment, it is communicated to her at the desire of 
President Washington. 



Mr. Adams presented himself at the Hague, as Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary of the United States, in the sum- 
mer or fall of 1794. Ten years before, he was there 
with his father — a lad, attending school — at which time 
the father wrote : *' They give him a good character 
wherever he has been, and I hope he will make a good 
man." How abundantly that hope was likely to be 
fulfilled, the elevated and responsible position occupied 
by the son at the expiration of the first ten years after 
it was expressed, gave a promising and true indication. 

On his arrival in Holland, Mr. Adams found the af- 
fairs of that country in great confusion, in consequence 
of the French invasion. So difficult was it to prosecute 
any permanent measures for the benefit of the United 
States, owing to the existing wars and the unsettled 
state of things in Europe, that after a few months he 
thought seriously of returning home. A report of this 
nature having reached President Washington, drew 
from him a letter to Vice President John Adams, 


dated Aug. 20, 1795, in which the following language 
occurs : — 

" Your son must not think of retiring from the path he is now in. 
His prospects, if he pursues it, are fair ; and I shall be much mis- 
taken if, in as short a time as can well be expected, he is not found 
at the head of the Diplomatic Corps, be the government adminis- 
tered by whomsoever the people may choose." 

This approbation of his proceedings thus far, and 
encouragement as to future success, from so high a 
source, undoubtedly induced the younger Adams to 
forego his inclination to withdraw from the field of 
diplomacy. He continued in Holland until near the 
close of Washington's administration. That he was 
not an inattentive observ^er of the momentous events 
then transpiring in Europe, but was watchful and faith- 
ful in all that pertained to the welfare of his country, 
is abundantly proved by his official correspondence 
with the government at home. His communications 
were esteemed by Washington, as of the highest value, 
affording him, as they did, a luminous description of the 
movement of continental affairs, upon which he could 
place the most implicit reliance. • 

The following extract of a letter from John Adams, 
will show the interest he naturally took in the welfare 
of his son while abroad, and also afford a brief glance 
at the political movements of that day. It is dated 
Philadelphia, Jan. 23, 1796 :— 

" We have been very unfortunate in the delays which have at- 
tended the dispatches of our ambassadors. Very lucky, Mr. John 


Quincy Adams, that you are not liable to criticism on this occasion ! 
This demurrage would have been charged doubly, both to your ac- 
count and that of your father. It would have been a scheme, a 
trick, a design, a contrivance, from hatred to France, attachment 
to England, monarchical manoeuvres, and aristocratical cunning ! 
Oh ! how eloquent they would have been ! 

" The southern gentry are playing, at present, a very artful game, 
which I may develope to you in confidence hereafter, under the seal 
of secrecy. Both in conversation and in letters, they are repre- 
senting the Vice-President [John Adams,] as a man of moderation. 
Although rather inclined to limited monarchy, and somewhat at- 
tached to the English, he is much less so than Jay or Hamilton. 
For their part, for the sake of conciliation, they should bo very 
willing he should be continued as Vice-President, provided the 
northern gentlemen would consent that Jefferson should be Pres- 
ident. I most humbly thank you for your kind condescension, 
Messieurs Transchesapeakes. 

" Witness my hand, 

" John Adams." 

Another allusion to his son while abroad, is made by 

the elder Adams, in a letter dated Philadelphia, March 

25, 1796. 

" The President told me he had that day received three or four 
letters from his new Minister in London, one of them as late as the 
29th of December, Mr. Pickering informs me that Mr. Adams* 
modestly declined a presentation at court, but it was insisted on by 
Lord Grenville ; and, accordingly, he was presented to the King, 
and I think the Queen, and made his harangues and received his 
answers. By the papers I find that Mr. Pinckney appeared at 
court on the 28 th of January, after which, I presume, Mr. Adams 
had nothing to do but return to Holland." 


During his residence as Minister at the Hague, Mr. 
Adams had occasion to visit London, to exchange the 
ratifications of the treaty recently formed with Great 

* John Q,uincy Adams. 


Britain, and to take measures for carrying its provisions 
into effect. (Alluded to in the above letter from John 
Adams.) It was at this time that he formed an ac- 
quaintance with Miss Louisa Catharine Johnson, 
daughter of Joshua Johnson, Esq., of Maryland, Con- 
sular Agent of the United States at London, and niece 
of Governor Johnson of Maryland, a Judge of the Su- 
preme Court of the United States, and a signer of the 
Declaration of Independence. The friendship they 
formed for each other, soon ripened into a mutual at- 
tachment and an engagement. They were married on 
the 2Gth of July, 1797. It was a happy union. For 
more than half a century they shared each other's joys 
and sorrows. The venerable matron who for this long 
period accompanied him in all the vicissitudes of his 
eventful life, still survives, to deplore the loss of him 
who had ever proved a faithful protector and the kind- 
est of husbands. 

In the meantime, the elder Adams had been elected 
President of the United States, in 1796. The curious 
reader may have a desire to know something of the 
views, feelings and anticipations of those elevated to 
places of the highest distinction, and of the amount of 
enjoyment they reap from the honors conferred upon 
them. A glance behind the scenes is furnished in the 
following con'espondence between John Adams and 
his wife, which took place at his election to the Pres- 

♦ Letters of John Adams, v, ii, pp.242, 243. Mrs. Adams' Letters, p. 373. 



" Philadelphia, 4th of Feb., 1797. 
"My Dearest Friend, 

" I hope you will not communicate to anybody the hints I give 
you about our prospects ; but they appear every day worse and 
worse. House rent at twenty-seven hundred dollars a year, fifteen 
hundred dollars for a carriage, one thousand for one pair of horses, 
all the glasses, ornaments, kitchen furniture, the best chairs, settees, 
plateaus, &c., all to purchase ; all the china, delph or wedgewood, 
glass and crockery of every sort to purchase, and not a farthing 
probably will the House of Representatives allow, though the Senate 
have voted a small addition. All the linen besides. I shall not pre- 
tend to keep more than one pair of horses for a carriage, and one 
for a saddle. Secretaries, sei-vants, wood, charities, which. are de- 
manded as rights, and the million dittoes, present such a prospect 
as is enough to disgust any one. Yet not one word must we say. 
We cannot go back. We must stand our ground as long as wc 
can. Dispose of our places with the help of our friend Dr. Tufts, 
as well as you can. We are impatient for news, but that is always 
so at this season-. I am tenderly your J. A. 



''Philadelphia, 9th Feb., 1797. 
" My Dearest Friekd, 

" The die is cast,* and you must prepare yourself for honorable 
trials. I must w'ait to know whether Congress will do anything or 
not to furnish niy house. If they do not, I will have no house be- 
fore next fall, and then a very moderate one, with very moderate 
furniture. The prisoners from Algiersf arrived yesterday in this 
city, in good health, and looking very well. Captain Stevens is 
among them. One woman rushed into the crowd and picked out 
Tier husband, whom she had not seen for fourteen years. 

" I am, and ever shall be, yours, and no other's, J. A." 

* Mr. Adams had, the day previous, been announced President elect 
of the United States. 

•j- American citizens who had long been in captivitv among the AI- 



" Quincy, Sth Feb., 1797. 

" ' The sun is dressed iu brightest beams, 
To give thy honors to the day.' 

" And may it prove an auspicious prelude to each ensuing season. 
You have this day to declare yourself head of a nation. ' And 
now, O Lord, my God, thou hast made thy servant ruler over the 
people. Give unto him an understanding heart, that he may know 
how to go out and come in before this great people ; that he may 
discern betw^een good and bad. For who is able to judge this thy 
so great a people ?' were the words of a royal sovereign ; and not 
less applicable to him who is invested with the Chief Magistracy of 
a nation, though he wear not ti crown, nor the robes of royalty. 

" My thoughts and my meditations are with you, though personally 
absent ; and my petitions to Heaven are, that ' the things which 
make for peace may not be hidden from your eyes,' My feelings 
are not those of pride or ostentation, upon tlie occasion. They are 
solemnized by a sense of the obligations, the important trusts, and 
numerous duties connected with it. That you may be enabled to 
discharge them with honor to yourself, with justice and impartiality 
to your country, and with satisfaction to this great peoj^le, shall be 
the daily prayer of your A. A." 


" Philadelphia, bth March, 1797. 
"My Dearest Friend, 

" Your dearest friend never had a more trying day than yester- 
day.* A solemn scene it was indeed ; and it was made more affect- 
ing to me by the presence of the General, [Washington,] whose 
countenance was as serene and unclouded as the day. He seemed 
to me to enjoy a triumph over me. Methought I heard him say 
' Ay ! I am fairly out, and you fairly in ! See which of us will be 
happiest.' When the ceremony was over, he came and made me 
a visit, and cordially congratulated me, and wished my administra- 
tion might be happy, successful, and honorable. 

♦ The day of his inauguration as President. 


" It is now settled that I am to go into his house. It is whispered 
that he intends to take Frencli leave to-morrow. I shall write you 
as fast as we proceed. My chariot is finished, and I made my first 
appearance in it yesterday. It is simple, but elegant enough. My 
horses are young, but clever. 

" In the chamber of the House of Representatives, was a multi- 
tude as great as the space could contain, and I believe scarcely a 
dry eye but Washington's. The sight of the sun setting full 
orbed, and another rising, though less splendid, was a novelty. 
Chief Justice Ellsworth administered the oath, and with great en- 
ergy. Judges Gushing, Wilson, and Iredell, were present. Many 
ladies. I had not slept well the night before, and did not sleep well 
the night after. I was unwell, and did not know whether I should 
get through or not. I did, however. How the business was re- 
ceived, I know not ; only I have been told that Mason, the treaty 
publisher, said we should lose nothing by the change, for he never 
heard such a speech in public in his life. 

" All agree that, taken altogether, it was the sublimest thing ever 
exhibited in America. 

" I am, my dearest friend, most affectionately and kindly yours, 

" John Adams." 

On entering upon the duties of the Presidency, John 
Adams was greatly embarrassed in regard to the line 
he should adopt toward his son. True, the younger 
Adams had been entrusted by Washington with an 
important embassy abroad, and had acquitted himself 
with great credit in his responsible station; but the 
father, with a delicacy highly honorable, hesitated con- 
tinuing him in ofRce, lest he might be charged with 
unworthy favoritism, and a disposition to promote the 
interest of his family at the expense of public good. 
In this exigency, riot daring to trust his own judgment, 
lest its decisions might be warped by parental solici- 
tude, he resorted to the wisdom and experience of 



Washington. Writing him for advice on this subject, 
he received the follow^ing reply : — 

" Monday, Feb. 20, 1797. 
*Dear Sir, 

" I thank you for giving me a perusal of the enclosed. The sen- 

(imcnts do honor to the head and the heart of the writer ; and if my 

wishes would be of any avail, they should go to you in a strong 

Aope, that you will not withhold merited promotion from John Q. 

Adams, because he is your son. For without intending to compli- 

fnent the father or the mother, or to censure any others, I give it as 

ny decided opinion, that Mr. Adams is the most valuable public 

character we have abroad ; and that there remains no doubt in my 

nind, that he will prove himself to be the ablest of all our diplo- 

aiatic corps. If he was now to be brought into that line, or into 

iny other public walk, I could not, upon the principle which has 

regulated my own conduct, disapprove of the caution which is 

/tinted at in the letter. But he is already entered ; the public, more 

And more, as he is known, are appreciating his talents and worth ; 

and his country would sustain a loss, if these were to be checked 

by over delicacy on your part. 

" With sincere esteem, and affectionate regard, 

" I am ever yours, 

" George Washington." 

This letter is characteristic of the discernment and 
nobleness of Washington. Appreciating at a glance 
the perplexed position of Mr. Adams, and wisely dis- 
criminating between the bringing forward of his son 
for the first time into public service, and the continu- 
ing him where he had already been placed by others, 
and shown himself worthy of all trust and confidence, 
he frankly advised him to overcome his scruples, and 
permit his son to remain in a career so full of promise 
to himself and his country. President Adams, in 


agreement with this counsel, determined to allow his 
son to continue in Europe m the public capacity to 
which he had been promoted by Washington. 

Shortly previous to the close of Washington's ad- 
ministration, he transferred the younger Adams from 
the Hague, by an appointment as Minister Plenipoten- 
tiary to Portugal, but before proceeding to Lisbon, his 
father, in the meantime having become President, 
changed his destination to Berlin. He arrived in that 
city in the autumn of 1797, and immediately entered 
upon the discharge of his duties as Minister of the 
United States. In 1798, while retaining his office at 
Berlin, he was commissioned to form a commercial 
treaty with Sweden. 

During his residence at Berlin, Mr. Adams, while 
attending with unsleeping diligence to his public duties, 
did not forego the more congenial pursuits of litera- 
ture. He cultivated the acquaintance of many eminent 
German scholars and poets, and manifested a friendly 
sympathy in their pursuits. In a letter to the late Dr. 
Follen, he writes of that day as follows : — 

" At this time, Wieland was there the most popular of the Ger- 
man poets. And altliough there was in his genius neither the 
originality nor the deep pathos of Goethe, Klopstock, or Schiller, 
there was something in the playfulness of his imagination, in the 
tenderness of his sensibility, in the sunny cheerfulness of his 
philosophy, and in the harmony of his versification, which de- 
li o-hted me." 

To perfect his knowledge of the German language, 
Mr. Adams made \i metrical translation of Wieland's 


Oberon into the English language. The publication 
of this work, which at one time was designed, was su- 
perseded by the appearance of a similar translation by 

In the summer of 1800, Mr. Adams made a tour 
through Silesia. He was charmed with the inhabi- 
tants of that region, their condition and habits. In 
many respects he found them bearing a great similarity 
to the people of his own native New England. He 
communicated his impressions during this excursion, in 
a series of letters to a younger brother in Philadelphia. 
These letters were interesting, and were considered of 
great value at that time, in consequence of many im- 
portant facts they contained in regard to the manufac- 
turing establishm.ents of Silesia. They were published, 
without Mr. Adams's knowledge, in the Port Folio, a 
weekly paper edited by Joseph Dennie, at Philadel- 
phia. The series was afterwards collected and pub- 
lished in a volume, in London, and has been translated 
into German and French, and extensively circulated on 
the continent. 

Among other labors while at Berlin, Mr. Adams suc- 
ceeded in forming a treaty of amity and commerce 
with the Prussian government. The protracted cor- 
respondence with the Prussian commissioners, which 
resulted in this treaty, involving as it did the rights of 
neutral commerce, was conducted with consummate 
ability on the part of Mr. Adams, and received the 
fullest sanction of the government at home. 


Mr. Adams' missions at the Hague and at Berlin, 
constituted his first step in the intricate paths of diplo- 
macy. They were accomplished amid the momentous 
events which convulsed all Europe, at the close of the 
eighteenth century. Republican France, exasperated 
at the machinations of the Allied Sovereigns to destroy 
its liberties, so recently obtained, was pushing its ar- 
mies abroad, determined, in self-defence, to kindle the 
flames of revolution in every kingdom on the conti- 
nent. Great Britain, combined with Austria and other 
European powers, was using every effort to crush the 
French democracy, and remove from before the eyes 
-of down-trodden millions, an example so dangerous to 
monarchical institutions. The star of Napoleon had 
commenced its ascent, with a suddenness and bright- 
ness which startled the imbecile occupants of old 
thrones. His legions had rushed down froni the Alps 
upon the sunny plains of Italy, and with the swoop of 
an eagle, had demolished towns, cities, kingdoms. 

Amid this conflict of nations, the commerce and 
navigation of the United States, a neutral power, were 
made a common object of prey to all. Great Britain 
and France especially, did not hesitate to make depre- 
dations, at once the most injurious and irritating. Our 
ships were captured, our rights disregarded. In the 
midst of these scenes, surrounded by difficulties and 
embarrassments on every hand, the youthful ambassa- 
dor was compelled to come into collision with the vet- 
eran and wily politicians of the old world. How well 


he maintained the dignity and honor of his govern- 
ment — how sleepless the vigilance with which he 
watched the movements on the vast field of political 
strife — how prompt to protest against all encroach- 
ments — how skilful in conductinsj negotiations — and 
how active to promote the interests of the Union, 
wherever his influence could be felt — the archives of 
our country will abundantly testify. It was a fitting 
and promising commencement of a long public career 
which has been full of usefulness and of honor. 

The administration of John Adams, as President of 
the United States, was characterized by great prudence 
and moderation, considering the excited state of the 
times. There cannot be a doubt he was anxious to 
copy the worthy example of his illustrious predecessor, 
in administering the government on principles of strict 
impartiality, for the good of the whole people, without 
respect to conflicting parties. Immediately on his in- 
auguration, he had an interview with Mr. Jefferson, 
then Vice-President, and pioposed the adoption of 
steps that would have a tendency to quell the spirit of 
faction which pervaded the country. That Mr. Jeffer- 
son, on his part, cherished a profound respect for Mr. 
Adams, his old co-laborer in the cause of American 
freedom, is evident from his letters and speeches of 
that day. In his speech on taking the chair of the 
Senate, as Vice-President, he expressed himself in the 
following terms : — 


" I might here proceed, and with the greatest truth, to declare my 
zealous attachment to the Constitution of the United States ; that 
I consider the union of these States as the first of blessinn-s ; and 
as the first of duties the preservation of that Constitution which 
secures it ; but I suppose these declarations not pertinent to the 
occasion of entering into an office, whose primary business is merely 
to preside over the forms of this House ; and no one more sin- 
cerely prays that no accident may call me to the higher and more 
important functions, which the Constitution eventually devolves on 
this office. These have been justly confided to the eminent char- 
acter which has preceded me here, whose talents and integrity have 
been known and revered by me, through a long course of years ; 
have been the foundation of a cordial and uninterrupted friendship be- 
tween us ; and I devoutly pray he may be long preserved for the gov- 
ernment, the happiness and the prosperity of our common country." 

The sincere attempts of President Adams to produce 
harmony of political action among the American peo- 
ple, weretinavailing. The extraordinary events trans- 
piring in Europe, exerted an influence on domestic pol- 
itics, which could not be neutralized. " The enemies 
of France" — " the friends of England," or vice versa, 
were cries which convulsed the nation to its centre. 
The entire population was sundered into contending 

John Adams was a true republican. His political 
opponents charged him with monarchical tendencies 
and aspirations, but charged him most falsely. His 
life, devoted unreservedly to the service of his country, 
through all its dark and perilous journey to the achieve- 
ment of its independence — his public speeches and 
documents — his private letters, written to his bosom 
companion, with no expectation that the eye of any 


Other would ever rest upon them — all testify his ardent 
devotion to the principles of republicanism. At the 
breaking out of the French Revolution, he yielded it 
his hearty support, and did not whhdraw his counte- 
nance, until compelled, by the scenes of anarchy and 
of carnage which soon ensued, to turn away with hor- 
ror and raise his voice against proceedings of savage 
ferocity. But while condemning the excesses of the 
French revolutionists, he was no friend of Great Brit- 
ain. This is made evident by a multitude of facts. 
Read, for instance, the following extract from a letter, 
not written for public effect, addressed to his wife, 
dated Philadelphia, April 9, 1796:— 

" I have read ' the minister's' dispatches from London. The 
King could not help discovering his old ill humor. The mad idiot 
will never recover. Blunderer by nature, accidents are all against 
him. Every measure of his reign has been wrong. It seems they 
don't like Pinckney. They think he is no friend to that country, 
and too much of a French Jacobin. They wanted to work up some 
idea or other of introducing another in his place, but our young 
politician* saw into them too deeply to be duped. At his last visit 
to Court, the King passed him without speaking to him, which, you 
know, will be remarked by courtiers of all nations. 1 am glad of 
it ; for I would not have my son go so* far as Mr. Jay, and affirm 
the friendly disposition of that country to this. I know better. I 
know their jealousy, envy, hatred, and revenge, covered under pre- 
tended contempt." 

While President Adams cherished no partialities for 
Great Britain, and had no desire to promote her espe- 
cial interest, he was compelled by the force of circum- 

* J. Q. Adams. 


stances, during his administration, to assume a hostile 
attitude towards France. The French Directory, cha- 
grined at the failure of all attempts to induce the gov- 
ernment of the United States to abandon its neutrality 
and take up arms in their behalf against the Allied 
Sovereigns, and deeply incensed at the treaty recently 
concluded between England and the United States, re- 
sorted to retaliatory measures.. They adopted com- 
mercial regulations designed to cripple and destroy our 
foreign trade. They passed an ordinance authorizing, 
in certain cases, the seizure and confiscation of Ameri- 
can vessels and cargoes. They refused to receive Mr. 
Pinckney, the American minister, and ordered him 
peremptorily to leave France. 

Mr. Adams convened Congress, by proclamation, on 
the 15th of June, 1797, and in his message laid before 
that body a lucid statement of the aggressions of the 
French Directory. Congress made advances, with a 
view to a reconciliation with France, But failing in 
this attempt, immediate and vigorous measures were 
adopted to place the country in a condition for war. 
A small standing army was authorized. The command 
was tendered to Gen. Washington, who accepted of it 
with alacrity, sanctioning as he did these defensive 
measures of the government. Steps were taken for a 
naval armament, and the capture of French vessels 
authorized. These energetic demonstrations produced 

their desired effect. The war proceeded no farther 



than a few collisions at sea. The French Directory 
became alarmed, and made overtures of peace. 

Washington did not survive to witness the restora- 
tion of amicable relations with France. On the 14th 
of December, 1799, after a brief illness, he departed this 
life, at Mount Vernon, aged sixty-eight years. On re- 
ceiving this mournful intelligence, Congress, then in 
session at Philadelphia, passed the following resolu- 
tion : — 

" Resolved, That the Speaker's chair should be shrouded in black ; 
that the members should wear black during the session, and that 
a joint committee, from the Senate and the House, be appointed to 
devise the most suitable manner of paying lionor to the memory of 
the Man, first in v^rar, first in peace, and first in the hearts of hi? 

Testimonials of sorrow were exhibited, and funeral 
orations and eulogies were delivered, throughout the 
United States. The Father of his Country slept in 
death, and an entire people mourned his departure ! 

On assuming the duties of the Presidency, the elder 
Adams found the finances of the country in a condi- 
tion of the most deplorable prostration. To sustain *' 
the government in this department, it was deemed in- m 
dispensable to establish a system of direct taxation, by 
internal duties. T?iis produced great dissatisfaction I 
throughout the Uniun. An *' alien law" was passed, 
which empowered the President to banish from the 
United States, any foreigner whom he should consider 
dangerous to the peace and satety of the country. 
And a " sedition law,*' imposing fine and imprisonment 


for " any false, scandalous, and malicious writing against 
the government of the United States, or either house 
of Congress, or the President." 

These measures are not justly chargeable to John 
Adams. They were not recommended nor desired by 
him ; but were brought forward and urged by Gen. 
Hamilton and his friends. Nevertheless upon Mr. 
Adams was heaped the odium they excited. The lead- 
ing measures of his administration — the demonstration 
against France ; the standing army ; the direct taxa- 
tion ; the alien and sedition laws — all tended to injure 
his popularity with the mass of the people, and to de- 
stroy his prospects of a re-election to the presidency. 
The perplexities he was compelled to encounter during 
his administration, may be conceived on perusal of his 
language in a letter dated March 17, 1797: — 

" From the situation where I now am, 1 see a scene of ambition 
beyond all my former suspicions or imaginations ; an emulation which 
will turn our government topsy-turvy. Jealousies and rivalries 
have been my theme, and checks and balances as their antidotes, 
till I am ashamed to repeat the words ; but they never stared me in 
the face in such horrid forms as at present. I see how the thing is 
going. At the next election England will set up Jay or Hamilton, 
and France Jefferson, and all the corruption of Poland will be in- 
troduced ; unless the American spirit should rise and say, we will 
have neither John Bull nor Louis Baboon." 

In 1800, the seat of government was removed to 
Washington. In taking possession of the President's 
house, Mr. Adams bestowed a benediction on it, which 
must ever meet with a response from all American 


hearts — ** Before I end my letter, I pray heaven to be- 
stow the best of blessings on this house, and on all that 
shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and 
wise men ever rule under this roof!" A description 
of the house and the city, at that time, is furnished 
in a letter from Mrs. Adams to her daughter, written 
in November, 1800 : — 

" I arrived here on Sunday last, and without meeting any acci- 
dent worth noticing, except losing ourselves when we left Baltimore, 
and going eight or nine miles on the Frederick road, by which 
means we were obliged to go the other eight through the woods, 
where we wandered two hours without finding a guide or the path. 
Fortunately, a straggling black came up with us, and we engaged 
him as a guide to extricate us out of our difficulty ; but woods are 
all you see, from Baltimore, until you reach the city, which is only 
so in name. Here and there is a small cot, without a glass window, 
interspersed among the forests, through which you travel miles 
without seeing any human being. ********* The house is 
made habitable, but there is not a single apartment finished, and alL 
withinside, except the plastering, has been done since Briesler came. 
We have not the least fence, yard, or other convenience without, 
and the great unfinished audience-room I make a drying-room of, 
to hang up the clothes in. The principal stairs are not up, and 
will not be this winter. Six chambers are made comfortable ; two 
are occupied by the President and Mr. Shaw ; two lower rooms, 
one for a common parlor, and one for a levee room. Up stairs there 
is tlie oval room, which is designed for the drawing-room, and has 
the crimson furniture in it. It is a very handsome room now ; but 
when completed, it will be beautiful." 

The presidential contesi in 1800, was urged with a 
warmth and bitterness, by both parties, which has not 
been equalled in any election since that period. It 
was the first time two candidates ever presented them- 
selves to the people as rival aspirants for the highest 


honor in their gift. Both were good men and true — 
both were worthy of the confidence of the country. 
But Mr. Adams, weighed down by the unpopularity ot 
acts adopted during his administration, and suffering 
under the charge of being an enemy to revolutionary 
France, and a friend of monarchical England, was dis- 
tanced and defeated by his competitor. Mr. Jefferson 
was elected the third President of the Republic, and 
was inaugurated on the 4th of March, 1801. One ot 
the last acts of John Adams, before retiring from the 
Presidency, w^as to recall his son from Berlin, tha^ 
Mr. Jefferson might have no embarrassment in that 





John Quincy Adams returned to the United States 
from his first foreign embassy, in 1801. During the 
stormy period of his father's administration, and the 
ensuing presidential canvass, he was fortunately absent 
from the country. Had he been at home, his situation 
would have been one of great delicacy. It can hardly 
be supposed he would have opposed his father's meas- 
ures, or his reelection. Yet to have thrown his in- 
fluence in their behalf, would have subjected him to 
the imputation of being moved by filial attachment 
rather than the convictions of duty. From this painful 
dilemma, he was saved by his foreign residence. He 
came home uncommitted to party measures, untram- 
melled by party tactics or predilections ; and thus stood 
before the people, as he could wish to stand, perfectly 
unshackled, and ready to act as duty and conscience 
should direct. 

Arriving in the United States with distinguished 
honors gained by successful foreign diplomacy, Mr. 


Adams was not allowed to remain long in inactivity. 
In 1802, he was elected to the Senate of Massachusetts, 
from the Boston district. During his services in that 
body, he gave an indication of that independence, as a 
politician, which characterized him through life, by his 
opposition to a powerful combination of banking in- 
terests, which was effected among his immediate con- 
stituents. Although his opposition was unavailing, yet 
it clearly showed that the integrity of the man was 
superior to the policy of the mere politician. But 
higher honors awaited him. 

In 1803, he was elected to the Senate of the United 
States, by the Legislature of Massachusetts. Thus at 
the early age of thirty-six years, h*^ had attained to the 
highest legislative body of the Union. Young in years, 
but mature in talent and experience, he took his seat 
amid the conscript fathers of the country, to act a part 
which soon drew upon him the eyes of the nation, both 
in admiration and in censure. 

The period of Mr. Adams' service in the United 
States Senate, was one in which the position and the 
interests of the country were surrounded by embar- 
rassments and perils of the most threatening character. 
The party which had supported his father had become 
divided and defeated. Mr. Jefferson, elevated to the 
Presidency after a heated and angry contest, was an 
object of the dislike and suspicion of the Federalists. 
The conflicts of the belligerent nations in Euiope, and 
the measures of foreign policy they severally adopted, 


not only affected the interests of the United States, 
but were added elements to inflame the party contests 
at home. 

In 1804, Bonaparte stepped from the Consul cham- 
ber to the throne of the French Empire. All Europe 
was bending to his giant rule. Great Britain alone, 
with characteristic and inherent stubbornness, had set 
itself as a rock against his ambitious aspirations, and 
prosecuted with unabated vigor its determined hostility 
to all his meuisures of trade and of conquest. In No- 
vember, 1807, the British Government issued the cele- 
brated " Orders in Council," forbidding all trade with 
France and her allies. This measure was met by Na- 
poleon, in December, with his " Milan Decree," pro- 
hibiting every description of commerce with England 
or her colonies. Between these checks and counter- 
checks of European nations, the commerce of the 
United States was in peril of being swept entirely from 
the ocean. 

During most of this perplexed and trying period, 
Mr. J. Q. Adams retained his seat in the United States 
Senate. Although sent there by the suffrages of the 
Federal party, in the Massachusetts Legislature, yet he 
did not, and would not, act simply as a partisan. This 
in fact was a prominent characteristic in Mr. Adams 
throughout his entire life, and is the key which explains 
many of his acts otherwise inexplicable. His noble 
and patriotic spirit arose above the shackles of party. 
He loved the interests of his country, the happiness of 


Man, more than the success of a mere party. So far 
as the party with which he acted advocated measures 
which he conceived to be wise and healthful, he yielded 
his hearty and vigorous co-operation. But whenever 
it swerved from this line of integrity, his influence was 
thrown into the opposite scale. This was the rule of 
his long career. No persuasions or emoluments, no 
threats, no intimidations, could turn him from it, to the 
breadth of a hair. It was in consequence of this char- 
acteristic, that it has so frequently been said of Mr. 
Adams, that he was not a reliable party man. This 
\vas to a degree true. He was not reliable for any 
policy adopted simply to promote party interests, and 
secure party ends. But in regard to all measures which 
in his judgment would advance the welfare of the peo- 
ple, secure the rights of man, and elevate the race, no 
politician, no statesman the world has produced, could 
be more perfectly relied upon. 

This disposition to act rz^A^, whether with or against 
his party, was developed by the first vote he ever gave 
in a legislative body. While in the Massachusetts 
Senate, the Federalists were the dominant party. It 
was the custom in that State, to choose the whole of 
the Governor's Council from the party which had the 
majority in the Legislature. In May, 1802, Mr. Adams 
was desirous that a rule should be adopted more re- 
gardful of the rights of the minority. He accordingly 
proposed that several anti- Federalists should have seats 

6 D* 


in the Council of Gov. Strong, and gave his first vote 
to that measure. 

On a certain occasion, Mr. Adams was asked, " What 
are the recognized principles of politics ?" He replied, 
that there were no principles in politics — there were 
recognized precepts, but they were bad ones. But, 
continued the inquirer, is not this a good one — " To 
seek the greatest good of the greatest number ?" No, 
said he, that is the worst of all, for it looks specious, 
while it is ruinous. What shall become of the minor- 
ity, in that case ? This is the only principle to seek — 
*' the greatest good of all.''* 

A few months after Mr. Adams' entrance into the 
Senate of the United States, a law was passed by 
Congress, at the suggestion of Mr. Jefferson, authoriz- 
ing the purchase of Louisiana. Mr. Adams deemed 
this measure an encroachment on the Constitution of 
the United States, and opposed it on the ground of its 
unconstitutionality. He was one of six senators who 
voted against it. Yet when the measure had been 
legally consummated, he yielded it his support. In 
passing laws for the government of the territory thus 
obtained, the right of trial by jury was granted only in 
capital cases. Mr. Adams labored to have it extended 
to all criminal offences. Before the territory had a 
representative in Congress, the government proposed 
to levy a tax on the people for purposes of revenue. 
This attempt met the decided opposition of Mr. Adams. 

♦ Massachusetts Quarterly, June, 1848. 


He insisted it would be an exercise of government, 
without the consent of the governed, which, to all 
intents, is a despotism. 

In 1805, he labored to have Congress pass a law 
levying a duty on the importation of slaves. This was 
the first public indication of his views on. the subject 
of slavery. It was a premonition of the bold, unflinch- 
ing, noble warfare against that institution, and of the 
advocacy of human freedom and human rights in the 
widest sense, which characterized the closing scenes 
of his remarkable career, and which will perpetuate his 
fame, when other acts of his life shall have passed from 
the remembrance of men. Although at that early day 
but little was said in regard to slavery, yet the young 
senator saw it was fraught with danger to the Union 
— conferring political power and influence on slave- 
holders, on principles false and pernicious, and calcu- 
lated ultimately to distract the harmony of the country, 
and endanger the permanency of our free institutions. 
He labored, therefore, to check the increase of slave 
power, by the only means which, probably, appeared 
feasible at that time. 

But a crisis in his senatorial career at length ar- 
rived. The commerce of the United States had suf- 
fered greatly by *' Orders in Council," and " Milan 
Decrees." Our ships were seized, conducted into for- 
eign ports and confiscated, with their cargoes. Amer- 
ican seamen were impressed by British cruisers, and 
compelled to serve in a foreign navy. The American 


frigate Chesapeake, while near the coast of the United 
States, on refusing to give up four men claimed to be 
British subjects, was fired into by the English man-of- 
war Leopard, and several of her crew killed and 
wounded. These events caused the greatest excite- 
ment in the United States. Petitions, memorials, re- 
monstrances, were poured in upon Congress from every 
part of the Union. Mr. Jefferson endeavored by em- 
bassies, negotiations, and the exertion of every influence 
in his power, to arrest these destructive proceedings, 
and obtain a redress of grievances. But all was in 
vain. At length he determined on an embargo, as 
the only means of securing our commerce from the 
grasp of the unscrupulous mistress of the seas. An 
act to that effect was passed in Dec, 1807. This ef- 
fectually prostrated what little foreign commerce had 
been left to the United States. 

In these proceedings Mr. Jefferson was stoutly op- 
posed by the Federal party. Massachusetts, then the 
chief commercial State in the Union, resisted with its 
utmost influence the Embargo Act, as pre-eminently 
destructive to its welfare, and looked to its Senators 
and Representatives in Congress to urge an opposition 
to the extreme. What course should Mr. Adams 
adopt ? On the one hand, personal friendship, the 
party which elected him to the Senate, the immediate 
interests of his constituents, called upon him to oppose 
the measures of the administration. On the other hand, 
more enlarged considerations presented themselves. 


The interest, the honor, the ultimate prosperity of the 
whole country — its reputation and influence in the 
eyes of the world — demanded that the Government 
should be supported in its efforts to check the aggres- 
sions of foreign nations, and establish the rights of 
American citizens. In such an alternative John Quincy 
Adams could not hesitate. Turning from all other 
considerations but a desire to promote the dignity and 
welfare of the Union, he threw himself, without reserve, 
into the ranks of the administration party, and labored 
zealously to second the measures of Mr. Jefferson. 

This act subjected Mr. Adams to the severest cen- 
sure. He was charged with basely forsaking his party 
— ^with the most corrupt venality — with the low motive 
of seeking to promote ambitious longings and selfish 
ends. But those who made these charges in sincerity 
labored under an entire misapprehension of his char- 
acter and principles of action. At this day, aided by 
the instructive history of his life, and by a perfect 
knowledge of his patriotism and devotion to truth and 
principle, as developed in his long and spotless career, 
it is clearly seen that in the event under consideration 
he but acted up to the high rule he had adopted, of 
making party and sectional considerations secondary 
to the honor and interest of the nation — an example 
which no pure and high-minded statesman can hesitate 
to follow. 

The Legislature of Massachusetts disapproved the 
course of Mr. Adams. By a small majority of Fe»Jer^? 


votes, it elected another person to take his place in the 
Senate at the expiration of his term, and passed resolu- 
tions instructing its Senators in Congress to oppose the 
measures of Mr. Jefferson. Mr. Adams could not, 
consistently with his views of duty, obey these instruc- 
tions ; and having no disposition to represent a body 
whose confidence he did not retain, he resigned his 
seat in the Senate, in March, 1808. 

Although Mr. Adams gave most of his days to the 
service of his country, yet he was fond of literary 
pursuits, and acquired, during his hours of relaxation 
from sterner duties, a vast fund of classic lore and useful 
learning. At an early day, he had become distin- 
guished as a ripe scholar, and an impressive, dignified, 
and eloquent public speaker. His reputation for lit- 
erary and scholastic attainments quite equalled his 
fame as a politician and statesman. 

In 1804, on the death of President Willard, Mr. 
Adams was urged by several influential individuals, 
to be a candidate for the presidency of Cambridge 
University. He declined the proffered honor. During 
the following year, however, he was appointed Profes- 
sor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, in that institution. 
He accepted the office, on condition that he should be 
allowed to discharge its duties at such times as his 
services in Congress would permit. His inaugural 
address, on entering the professorship, was delivered 
on the 12th of June, 1806. His lectures on rhetoric 
and oratory were very popular. They were attended 



by large crowds from Boston and the surrounding 
towns, in addition to the collegiate classes — a compli- 
ment which few of the professors since his day have 

Mr. Adams continued his connection with the Uni- 
versitv, delivering lectures and conducting exercises 
in declamation, until July, 1809. "'It was at this time, 
and as a member of one of the younger classes at 
college, that I first saw Mr. Adams, and listened to 
his well-remembered voice from the chair of instruc- 
tion ; little anticipating, that after the lapse of forty 
years, my own humble voice would be heard, in the 
performance of this mournful office. Some who now 
hear me will recollect the deep interest with which 
these lectures were listened to, not merely by the 
youthful audience for which they were prepared, but 
by numerous voluntary hearers from the neighborhood. 
They formed an era in the University ; and were, I 
believe, the first successful attempt, in this country, at 
this form of instruction in any department of litera- 
ture. They were collected and published in two vol- 
umes, completing the theoretical part of the subject. 
I think it may be fairly said, that they will bear a 
favorable comparison with any treatise on the subject, 
at that time extant in our language. The standard of 
excellence, in every branch of critical learning, has 
greatly advanced in the last forty years, but these 
lectures may still be read with pleasure and instruc- 
tion. Considered as a systematic and academical 


treatise upon a subject which constituted the chief 
part of the intellectual education of the Greeks and 
Romans, these lectures, rapidly composed as they 
were delivered, and not revised by the author before 
publication, are not to be regarded in the light of a 
standard performance. But let any statesman or jurist, 
even of the present day, in America or Europe — 
whose life, like Mr. Adams's, has been actively passed 
in professional and political engagements, at home and 
abroad — attempt, in the leisure of two or thee sum- 
mers — his mind filled with all the great political topics 
of the day — to prepare a full course of lectures on any 
branch of literature, to be delivered to a dilficult and 
scrutinizing, though in part a youthful audience, and 
then trust them to the ordeal of the press, and he will 
be prepared to estimate the task which was performed 
by Mr. Adams."* 

Mr. Adams's devotion to literary pursuits was destined 
to an early termination. On the 4th of March, 1809, 
Mr. Madison was inducted into the office of President 
of the United States. It was at that time far from 
being an enviable position. At home the country was 
rent into contending factions. Our foreign affairs were 
in a condition of the utmost perplexity, and evidently 
approaching a dangerous crisis. The murky clouds of 
war, which had for years overshadowed Europe, seemed 
rolling hitherward, filling the most sanguine and hope- 

* Edward Everett's Eulogy on the Life and Character of John 
duincy Adams. 


ful minds with deep apprehension. Russia, under its 
youthful Emperor Alexander, was rising to a promi- 
nent and influential ^position among the nations of 
Europe. Mr. Madison deemed it of great importance 
that the United States should be represented at that 
court by some individual eminent alike for talents, ex- 
perience, and influence. John Quincy Adams was 
selected for the mission. In March, 1809, he was 
appointed Minister to Russia, and the summer follow- 
ing, sailed for St. Petersburgh. 

In the meantime, our relations with Great Britain 
became every day more dubious. While striving, in 
every honorable manner, to come to terms of recon- 
ciliation, President Madison was making rapid prepar- 
ations for war. The people of the United States, de- 
prived by the non-intercourse act of the cheap pro- 
ductions of England, began to turn their attention and 
capital to domestic manufactures. At length the 
American Government demanded peremptorily, that 
the restrictions of Great Britain and France on our 
commerce should be abrogated ; war being the alter- 
native of a refusal. The French emperor gave satis- 
factory assurances that the Berlin decree should be 
withdrawn. The English government hesitated, equiv- 
ocated, and showed evident disinclination to take any 
decided step. 

*' In this doubtful state of connexion between Amer- 
ica and England, an accidental collision took place 
between vessels of the respective countries, tending 


much to inflame and widen the existing differences. An 
English sloop-of-war, the Little Belt, commanded by 
Capt. Bingham, descried a ship off the American coast, 
and made sail to come up with it ; but finding it a 
frigate, and dubious of its nation, he retired. The 
other, which proved to be American, the President, 
under Capt. Rogers, pursued in turn. Both captains 
hailed nearly together ; and both, instead of replying, 
hailed again ; and from words, as it were, came to 
blows, without explanation. Capt. Bingham lost up- 
w^ards of thirty men, and his ship suffered severely. A 
Court of Inquiry was ordered on the conduct of Capt. 
Rogers, which decided that it had been satisfactorily 
proved to the court, that Capt. Rogers hailed the Lit- 
tle Belt first, that his hail was not satisfactorily an- 
swered, that the Little Belt fired the first gun, and 
that it was without previous provocation or justifiable 
cause. * 

Several attempts were made after this, to preserve 
the peace of the two countries, but in vain. England, 
it is true, withdrew her obnoxious Orders in Council. 
It was, however, too late. Before intelligence of this 
repeal reached the shores of the United States, war 
was declared by Congress, on the 18th of June, 1812. 

It was a popular war. Although strenuously op- 
posed by portions of the Eastern States, as destructive 
to their commerce, yet with the mass of the people 
throughout the Union, it was deemed justifiable and 

♦ Lives of the Presidents. 


indispensible. A long series of insults and injuries on 
the part of Great Britain — the seizure and confiscation 
of our ships and cargoes ; the impressing of our sea- 
men, under circumstances of the most irritating de- 
scription ; and the adoption of numerous measures to 
the injury of our interests — had fully prepared the pub- 
lic mind in the United States, with the exception of a 
small minority, to enter upon this war with zeal and 

With occasional reverses, general success attended 
our arms in every direction. On land and on sea, 
the American eagle led to victory. The combatants 
were worthy of each other. Of the same original 
stock — of the same stern, unyielding material — their 
contests were bloody and destructive in the extreme. 
But the younger nation, inspirited by a sense of wrongs 
endured, and of the justness of its cause, bore away 
the palm, and plucked from the brow of its more aged 
competitor many a laurel yet green from the ensan- 
guined fields of Europe. In scores of hotly-contested 
battles, the British lion, unused as it was to cower be- 
fore a foe, was compelled to " lick the dust" in defeat. 
At York, at Chippewa, at Fort Erie, at Lundy's Lane, 
at New Orleans, on LakeChamplain, on Lake Erie, on 
the broad ocean. Great Britain and the world were 
taught lessons of American valor, skill, and energy, 
which ages will not obliterate. 

This war, though prosecuted at the expense of 
many valuable lives, and of a vast public debt, was, 


unquestionably, highly beneficial to the Uni^ted States. 
It convinced all doubters that our government was 
abundantly able to resent aggressions, and to maintain 
its rights against the assaults of any nation on earth. 
This reputation has been of great service in protecting 
our commerce, and commanding respect for our flag, 
throughout the world. But the chief benefit of the 
war was the development of our internal resources, 
which, after all, form the great fountain of the wealth, 
strength, and permanence of a nation. Deprived by 
the embargo, the non-intercourse act, and the ensuing 
hostilities, of all foreign importation of goods, the 
American people were compelled to supply themselves 
by their own industry and ingenuity, with those arti- 
cles for which they had always before been dependent 
on their transatlantic neighbors. Thus was laid the 
foundation of that system of domestic manufactures 
which is destined to make the United States the great- 
est productive mart among men, and to bring into its 
lap the wealth of the world. 








Mr. Adams arrived at St. Petersburg, as Minister 
Plenipotentiary from the United States, in the autumn 
of 1809. Twenty -eight years before, while a lad of 
fourteen, he was at the same place, as private secre- 
tary to Mr. Dana, the American Minister. The prom- 
ising boy returned to the northern capital a mature 
man, ripe in experience, wisdom, patriotism, and pre- 
pared to serve his country in the highest walks of 
diplomacy. So truly had the far-seeing Washington 
prophesied in 1795 : — '' I shall be much mistaken, if, 
in as short a time as can well be expected, he is not 
found at the head of the diplomatic corps, be the 
government administered by whomsoever the people 
may choose !" 

The United States, though but little known in 
Russia at that period, was still looked upon with 
favor, as a nation destined, in due time, to exert a 


great influence upon the affairs of the world. Mr. 
Adams was received with marked respect at the Court 
of St. Petersburg. His familiarity with the French 
and German languages — the former the diplomatic 
language of Europe — his literary acquirements, his 
perfect knowledge of the political relations of the 
civilized world, his plain appearance, and republican 
simplicity of manners, in the midst of the gorgeous 
embassies of other nations, enabled him to make a 
striking and favorable impression on the Emperor 
Alexander and his Court. The Emperor, charmed 
by his varied qualities, admitted him to terms of per- 
sonal intimacy seldom granted to the most favorec* 

During his residence in Russia, the death of Judg 
Gushing caused a vacancy on the bench of the Su 
preme Court of the United States. President Madison 
nominated Mr. Adams to the distinguished office. 
The nomination was confirmed by the Senate, but he 
declined its acceptance. 

A circumstance occurred at this time, which attract- 
ed the attention of Mr. Adams. The Russian Minister 
of the Interior, then advanced in years, having received 
many valuable presents while in office, became troubled 
with scruples of conscience, in regard to the disposal 
he should make of them. He at length calculated the 
value of all his gifts, and paid the sum into the impe- 
rial treasury. This transaction made a deep impres- 
sion on Mr. Adams, and probably led him to the 


resolution of never accepting gifts. In order to act 
with that freedom of bias which he deemed indispen- 
sable to the faithful discharge of public duty, he en- 
deavored to avoid, as far as possible, laying himself 
under obligations to any man. When a certain book- 
seller once sent him an elegant copy of the Scriptures, 
he kept the book, but returned its full equivalent in 

While sojourning at St. Petersburg, Mr. Adams 
wrote a series of letters to a son at school in Massa- 
chusetts, on the value of the Bible, and the importance 
of its daily perusal. Since his decease they have been 
published in a volume, entitled " Letters of John 
Quincy Adams to his son, on the Bible and its teach- 
ings." *' Their purpose is the inculcation of a love and 
reverence for the Holy Scriptures, and a dehght in 
their perusal and study. Throughout his long life, 
Mr. Adams was himself a daily and devout reader of 
the Scriptures, and delighted in comparing and con- 
sidering them in the various languages with which he 
was familiar, hoping thereby to acquire a nicer and 
clearer appreciation of their meaning. The Bible was 
emphatically his counsel and monitor through life, and 
the fruits of its guidance are seen in the unsullied 
character which he bore, through the turbid waters of 
political contention, to his final earthly rest. Though 
long and fiercely opposed and contemned in life, he 
left no man behind him who would wish to fix a stain 
on the name he has inscribed so high on the roll of his 


country's most gifted and illustrious sons. The intrin- 
sic value of these letters, their familiar and lucid style, 
their profound and comprehensive views, their candid 
and reverent spirit, must win for them a large measure 
of the public attention and esteem. But, apart from 
even this, the testimony so unconsciously borne by 
their pure-minded and profoundly learned author, to 
the truth and excellence of the Christian faith and 
records, will not be lightly regarded. It is no slight 
testimonial to the verity and worth of Christianity, 
that in all ages since its promulgation, the great mass 
of those who have risen to eminence by their profound 
wisdom, integrity, and philanthropy, have recognized 
and reverenced, in Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the 
living God. To the names of Augustine, Xavier, 
Fenelon, Milton, Newton, Locke, Lavater, Howard, 
Chateaubriand, and their thousands of compeers in 
Christian faith, among the world's wisest and noblest, it 
is not without pride that the American may add, from 
among his countrymen, those of such men as Washing- 
ton, Jay, Patrick Henry, and John Quincy Adams."* 
Mr. Adams was a practical Christian. This is 
proved by his spotless life, his strict honesty and integ- 
rity, his devotion to duty, his faithful obedience to the 
dictates of conscience, at whatever sacrifice, his rever- 
ence of God, of Christ, his respect for religion and its 
institutions, and recognition of its claims and responsi- 

* Preface to "Letters of John Quincy Adams to his Son, on the 
Bible and it;? Teachings." 


bilities. Althou<i;h a Unitarian* in his belief of doc- 
trines, yet he was no sectarian. In religion, as in 
politics, he was independent of parties. He would 
become linked to no sect in such manner as to prevent 
him from granting his countenance and assistance 
wherever he thought proper. He was a frequent 
attendant at Presbyterian and Episcopalian churches, 
and was liberal in his contributions to these and other 
denominations ; it being his great desire to aid in 
building up Christianity, and not a sect. 

The influence which Mr. Adams had obtained at 
St. Petersburg, with the Emperor and his Court, was 
turned to the best account. It laid the foundation of 
those amicable relations which have ever character- 
ized the intercourse of that government with the 
United States. To this source, also, is unquestionably 
to be attributed the offer, by the Emperor Alexander, 
of mediation between Great Britain and the United 
States. This offer was accepted by the American 
Government, and Mr. Adams, in connection with 
Messrs. Gallatin and Bayard, was appointed by the 
President to take charge of the negotiation. The lat- 
ter gentlemen joined Mr. Adams at St. Petersburg, in 
July, 1813. Conferences were held by the Commis- 
sioners with Count Romanzoff, the Chancellor of the 
Russian Empire, with a view to open negotiations. 
The British Government, however, refused to treat 

* Mr, Adams was a member of the Unitarian Church, in Quincy 
Mass., at his death. 

E ' 


under the mediation of Russia ; but proposed at the 
same time to meet American Commissioners either a» 
London or Gottenburg. Messrs. Gallatin and Bayaru 
withdrew from St. Petersburg in January, 1814, leav- 
ing Mr. Adams in the discharge of his duties as resi- 
dent Minister. 

The proposition of the British Ministry to negotiate 
for peace, at London or Gottenburg, was accepted by 
the United States. Mr. Adams and Messrs. Bayard, 
Clay, Russell, and Gallatin, were appointed Commission- 
ers, and directed to proceed to Gottenburg for that pur- 
pose. Mr. Adams received his instructions in April, 
1814 ; and as soon as preparations for departure could 
be made, took passage for Stockholm. After repeated 
delays, on account of the difficulties of navigation at 
that early season in the northern seas, he arrived at 
that city on the 25th of May. Learning there that the 
place for the meeting of the Commissioners had been 
changed to Ghent, in Belgium, Mr. Adams proceeded 
to Gottenburg. From thence he embarked on board 
an American sloop-of-war, which had conveyed Messrs. 
Clay and Russell from the United States, and landing 
at Texel, proceeded immediately to Ghent, where he 
arrived on the 24th of June. 

In the ensuing negotiation, Mr. Adams was placed 
at the head of the American Commissioners. They 
were men of unsurpassed talents and skill, in whose 
hands neither the welfare nor the honor of the United 
States could suffer. In conducting this negotiation, 


they exhibited an ability, a tact, an understanding of 
mternational law, and a knowledge of the best interests 
of their country, which attracted the favorable attention 
both of Europe and America. Their " Notes " with 
the British Commissioners, exhibited a dignified fii'm- 
ness and manly moderation, with a power of argument, 
and force of reasoning, which highly elevated their 
reputation, and that of their country, in the estimation 
of European statesmen. The Marquis of Wellesley 
declared in the British House of Lords, that, " in his 
opinion the American Commissioners had shown the 
most astonishing superiority over the British, during 
the whole of the correspondence." Their despatches 
to the Government at home, describing and explaining 
the progress of the negotiation in its several stages, 
gave the highest satisfaction to the people of the United 
States. It was declared in the public prints, that they 
sustained the honor of the Union as ably at Ghent as 
the patriotism and bravery of its defenders had been 
established by its seamen on the ocean, and its troops 
in their battles with " Wellington's Invincibles." A 
good share of these encomiums of right belongs to Mr. 
Adams, who, from his knowledge of foreign affairs, 
and experience in diplomacy, as well as acknowledged 
talents, took a leading part in the negotiations. 

The American commissioners were treated with 
marks of highest respect, by the citizens of Ghent, and 
the public authorities of that town. On the anniversary 
of the Academy of Sciences and Fine Aits, at Ghent, 


they were unanimously elected members of the institu- 
tion, and were invited to attend and unite in the exer- 
cises of the occasion. An oration on the objects of the 
institution was delivered. In the eveninsf, a sumptuous 
banquet was served up to a numerous company. After 
the removal of the cloth, among the toasts given, was 
the following, by the Intendant of Ghent : — 

" Our distinguished guests and fellow-members, the American 
Ministers : May they succeed in making an honorable peace, to se- 
cure the liberty and independence of their country." 

This sentiment was received with immense applause. 
The band struck up " Hail Columbia," and the corn- 
pan}^ was filled with enthusiasm. It was some minutes 
before the tumult sufficiently subsided to admit of a 
response. Mr. Adams then arose, and, in behalf of the 
American Legation, returned thanks for the very flat- 
tering manner in which they had been treated by the 
municipality of Ghent, and particularly for the unex- 
pected honor conferred upon them by the Academy. 
After making some pertinent remarks on the importance 
and usefulness of the Fine Arts, he concluded by offer- 
ing as a toast — " The Intendant of the city of Ghent." 

The British Commissioners were Lord Gambler, 
Henry Goulburn, and Wm. Adams. The negotiations 
opened dubiously. The demands of the British Min- 
isters were at first of such a character, that it was im- 
possible to comply with them, with any regard to the 
honor or welfare of the United States. They insisted 
that the line separating the United States from the 


Canadas, should run on the southern borders of all the 
lakes from Ontario to Superior — that the American 
Government should keep no armed force on these lakes, 
nor maintain any military posts on their borders, while 
the British should have the privilege of establishing 
such posts wherever they thought proper, on the 
southern shores of the lakes and connecting rivers, and 
maintaining a navy on their waters — that a large part 
of the district of Maine should be relinquished and ceded 
to England, to permit a direct route of communication 
between Halifax and Quebec — that the right of search 
should be granted to British ships-of-war — together 
with many other terms equally unacceptable. 

The letters of the American Commissioners to the 
Government at home, in the early stages of the pro- 
ceedings, were couched in desponding tones. They 
gave it as their opinion that no terms of peace could be 
agreed upon. But the demands of the English Pleni- 
potentiaries were met in a manner so decided, and 
reasons were offered for non-compliance so cogent and 
incontrovertible, that they w^ere compelled to recede, 
and come to terms of a more reasonable description. 
Moreover the British nation was heartily sick of foreign 
wars, which plunged the Government into debt, sacri- 
ficed the lives of its subjects, crippled their manufac- 
tories, and secured them, in fact, nothing ! At length, 
after a protracted negotiation of six months, articles of 
peace were signed by the British and American Com- 
missioners, on the 24th of December, 1814. 


The announcement of this event, at Ghent, was in a 
manner somewhat peculiar. Mr. Todd, one of the 
Secretaiies of the American Commissioners, and son-in- 
law of president Madison, had invited several gentlemen, 
Americiins and others, to take refreshments with him 
on the2'rth of December. At noon, after having spent 
some tin;e in pleasant conversation, the refreshments 
entered, and Mr. Todd said, — "It is 12 o'clock. Well, 
gentlem( n, I announce to you that peace has been 
made an i signed between America and England." In 
a few Moments, Messrs. Gallatin, Clay, Carroll and 
Hughes entered, and confirmed the annunciation. 
This intelligence was received with a burst of joy by 
all present. The news soon spread through the town, 
and gave general satisfaction to the citizens. 

At Paris, the intelligence was hailed with acclama- 
tions. In the evening the theatres resounded with cries 
of *' God save the Americans." 

In the United States the news of peace spread with 
the speed of the wind. Everywhere it excited the 
most lively emotions of joy. Processions, orations, 
bonfires, illuminations, attested the gratification of 
the people, and showed that, notwithstanding the gen- 
eral success which had attended our arms, they viewed 
peace as one of the highest blessings a nation can 

Recognizing in this important event the hand of a 
wise and gracious overruling Providence, the hearts of 
a great Christian nation turned in gratitude toward 


God. President Madison issued the following procla- 
nation for a day of thanksgiving : — • 

*' The Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States have, by a joint resolution, signified 
their desire that a day may be recommended, to be ob- 
served by the people of the United States with reli- 
gious solemnity, as a day of thanksgiving and of de- 
vout acknowledgments to Almighty God, for his great 
goodness, manifested in restoring to them the blessings 
of peace. 

** No people ought to feel greater obligations to cele- 
brate the goodness of the Great Disposer of events, 
and of the destiny of nations, than the people of the 
United States, His kind providence originally con- 
ducted them to one of the best portions of the dwelling- 
place allowed for the great family of the human race. 
He protected and cherished them under all the difficul- 
ties and trials to which they were exposed in their 
early days. Under his fostering care, their habits, 
their sentiments and their pursuits prepare.d them for a 
transition in due time to a state of independence and 
self-government. In the arduous struggle by which it 
was attained, they were distinguished by multiplied 
tokens of his benign interposition During the interval 
which succeeded, he reared them into the strength, 
and endowed them with the resources, which have en- 
abled them to assert their national rights, and to en- 
hance their national character, in another arduous con- 
flict, which is now happily terminated by a peace and 



reconciliation with those who have been our enemies 
And to the same Divine Author of every good and per 
feet gift we are indebted for all those privileges and 
advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so 
richly enjoyed in this favOred land. 

" It is for blessings such as these, and more espe- 
cially for the restoration of the blessings of peace, that 
r now recommend that the second Thursday in April 
next, be set apart as a day on which the people of every 
religious denomination may in their solemn assemblies 
unite their hearts and their voices, in a free-will offer- 
ing, to their Heavenly Benefactor, of their homage of 
thanksgiving and their songs of praise." 

Before leaving Ghent, the American Commissioners 
gave a public dinner to the British Ambassadors, at 
which the Intendant of Ghent, and numerous stafT offi- 
cers of the Hanoverian service, were present. Every- 
thing indicated that the most perfect reconciliation had 
taken place between the two nations. Lord Gambier 
had arisen to give, as the first toast, " The United 
States of North America," but he was prevented by 
the courtesy of Mr. Adams, who gave " His Majesty, 
the King of England" — on which the music struck up 
" God save the King." Lord Gambier gave as the 
second toast, " The United States of North America," 
and the music played " Hail Columbia." Count H. 
"Von Sheinhuyer presented as a toast — " The Pacifica- 
tors of the States — May their union contribute to the 
nappiness of the Department which is confided to my 


government ; and may their Excellencies communicate 
to their Governments the lively interest which those 
under me take in their reconciliation." Mr. Adams 
and Lord Gambler both begged the Intendant to certify 
to the city of Ghent the gratitude of the Ministers, for 
the attention which the inhabitants had shown them 
during their residence in their midst. 

Having concluded their labors at Ghent by signing 
the treaty of peace, Mr. Adams, together with Messrs. 
Albert Gallatin and Henry Clay, was directed to pro- 
ceed to London, for the purpose of entering into nego- 
tiations for a treaty of commerce with Great Britain. 
Before leaving the continent, Mr. Adams visited Paris, 
where he witnessed the return of Napoleon from Elbe, 
and his meteoric career during the Hundred Days. 
Here he w^as joined in March, 1815, by his family, 
after a long and perilous journey from St. Peters- 

On the 25th of May, Mr. Adams arrived in London 
and joined Messrs. Gallatin and Clay, who had already 
entered upon the preliminaries of the proposed com- 
mercial convention with Great Britain. In the mean 
time, Mr. Adams had received official notice of his ap- 
pointment as Minister to the Court of St. James. On 
the 3d of July, 1815, the convention for regulating the 
commercial intercourse between the United States and 
Great Britain was concluded, and duly signed. It was 
afterwards ratified by both (governments, and has 

formed the basis of commerce and trade between the 


two countries, to the present time. At the conclusion 
of these negotiations, Messrs. Gallatin and Clay re- 
turned to the United States, and Mr. Adams remained 
in London, in his capacity as resident Minister. 

Thus had the prediction of Washington been ful- 
filled. In " as short a time as could well be expected," 
John Quincy Adams, as the well-merited reward of 
faithful services, had attained to the head of the Diplo- 
matic Corps of the United States. His career had 
been singularly successful ; and his elevation to the 
highest foreign stations received the general approba- 
tion of his countrymen. His simple habits, his plain 
appearance, his untiring industry, his richly stored 
mind, his unbending integrity, his general intercourse 
and correspondence with foreign courts and diploma- 
tists of the greatest distinction, all tended to elevate, in 
a high degree, the American character, in the estima- 
tion of European nations. 

The impression he made in the most eminent circles 
during his residence in London, as a statesman of un- 
surpassed general information, and critical knowledge 
of the politics of the world, was retained for years 
afterwards. Mr. Rush, who was subsequently Minis- 
ter to Great Britain, in an account of a dinner party 
at Lord Castlereagh's, notes a corroborating incident : 
"At table, I had on my left the Saxon Minister, Baron 
Just. ****** He inquired of me for Mr. Adams, 
whom he had known well, and of whom he spoke 


highly. He said that he knew the politics of all Eu- 

*' It was while Mr. Adams was Minister of the 
United States in London, that it was my personal 
good fortune to be admitted to his intimacy and friend- 
ship. Being then in London on private business, and 
having some previous acquaintance with Mr. Adams, 
I found in his house an ever kind welcome, and in his 
intercourse and conversation unfailingr attraction and 
improvement. Accustomed as he had been from ear- 
liest youth to the society of the most eminent persons 
in Europe, alike in station and in ability, Mr. Adams 
never lost the entire simplicity of his own habits and 
character. Under an exterior of, at times, almost 
repulsive coldness, dwelt a heart as warm, sympathies 
as quick, and affections as overflowing, as ever ani- 
mated any bosom. His tastes, too, were all refined. 
Literature and art were familiar and dear to him, and 
hence it was that his society was at once so agreeable 
and so improving. At his hospitable board, I have 
listened to disquisitions from his lips on poetry, espe- 
cially the dramas of Shakspeare, music, painting, sculp- 
ture — of rare excellence, and untiring interest. The 
extent of his knowledge, indeed, and its accuracy, in 
all branches, were not less remarkable than the com- 
plete command which he appeared to possess over all 
his varied stores of learning and information. A 
critical scholar, alike in the dead languages, in French, 

* Rush's Residence at the Court of London. 


in German, in Italian, not less than in English — he 
could draw at will from the wealth of all these tongues 
to illustrate any particular topic, or to explain any 
apparent difficulty. There was no literary work of 
merit in any of these languages, of which he could not 
render a satisfactory account ; there was no fine paint- 
ing or statue, of which he did not know the details 
and the history ; there was not even an opera, or a 
celebrated musical composer, of which or of whom he 
could not point out the distinguishing merits and the 
chief compositions. Yet he was a hard-working, assid- 
uous man of business, in his particular vocation, and a 
more regular, punctual, comprehensive, voluminous 
diplomatic correspondence than his no country can 
probably boast of; and it is thought the more neces- 
sary to note this fact, because sometimes an opinion 
prevails that graver pursuits must necessarily exclude 
attention to what used to be called the " humanities " 
of education — those ornamental and graceful acquire- 
ments, which, as Mr. Adams well proved, not only 
are not inconsistent with, but greatly adorn, the 
weightier matters of the law and of diplomacy. I 
could dwell with much satisfaction upon the memory 
and incidents of the days to which I am now adverting, 
but am admonished, by the length to which these re- 
marks have already extended, that I may not loiter."* 

♦ Eulogy on John Q,uincy Adams, by Charles King. 





James Madison, after serving his country eight 
years as President, in a most perilous period of its 
history, retired to private Hfe, followed by the respect 
and gratitude of the people of the United States. He 
was succeeded by James Monroe, who was inaugurated 
on the 4th of March, 1817. 

Mr. Monroe was a politician of great moderation. 
It was his desire, on entering the presidency, to heal 
the unhappy dissensions which had distracted the 
country from tPie commencement of its government, 
and conciliate and unite the conflicting political parties. 
In forming his cabinet, he consulted eminent individ- 
uals of different parties, in various sections of the 
Union, expressing these views. Among others, he ad- 
dressed Gen. Jackson, who, on account of his success- 
ful military career, was then rising rapidly into public 
notice. In his reply the general remarked : — 


" Everything depends on the selection of your ministry. In every 
selection, party and party feeling sliould be avoided. Now is the 
time to exterminate that monster, called party spirit. By selecting 
characters most conspicuous for their probity, virtue, capacity, and 
firmness, without any regard to party, you will go far, if not en- 
tirely, to eradicate those feelings, which on former occasions, threw 
so many obstacles in the way of government, and, perhaps, have the 
pleasure and honor of uniting a people heretofore politically divided. 
The Chief Magistrate of a great and powerful nation, should never 
indulge in party feelings." 

Admirable advice ! Sentiments worthy an exalted 
American statesman ! The President of a vast 
Republic, should indeed know nothing of the interest 
of party in contradistinction to the interest of the 
whole people ; and should exercise his power, his 
patronage, and his influence, not to strengthen fac- 
tions, and promote the designs of political demagogues, 
but to develop and nourish internal resources, the 
only sinews of national prosperity, and diffuse abroad 
sentiments of true patriotism, liberality, and philan- 
thropy. No suggestions more admirable could have 
been made by Gen. Jackson, and none could have 
been more worthy the consideration of Mr. Monroe 
and his successors in the presidentiaF chair. 

In carrying out his plans of conciliation. President 
Monroe selected John Quincy Adams for the respon- 
sible post of Secretary of State. Mr. Adams had 
never been an active partizan. In his caieer as Sen- 
ator, both in Massachusetts and in Washington, during 
Mr. Jefferson's administration, he had satisfactorily 
demonstrated his ability to rise above party considera* 


tions, in the discharge of great and innportant duties. 
And his long absence from the country had kept him 
free from personal, party, and sectional bias, and pecu- 
liarly fitted him to take the first station in the cabinet 
of a President aiming to unite his countrymen in fra- 
ternal bonds of political amity. 

Referring to this appointment, Mr. Monroe wrote 
Gen. Jackson as follows, under date of March 1, 
1817: — "I shall take a person for the Department 
of State from the eastward ; and Mr. Adams, by long 
service in our diplomatic concerns appearing to be 
entitled to the preference, supported by his ac- 
knowledged abilities and integrity, his nomination will 
go to the Senate." Gen. Jackson, in his reply, re- 
marks : — '' I have no hesitation in saying you have 
made the best selection to fill the Department of State 
that could be made. Mr. Adams, in the hour of diffi- 
culty, will be an able helpmate, and I am convinced 
his appointment will afford general satisfaction." This 
prediction was well founded. The consummate ability 
exhibited by Mr. Adams in foreign negotiations had 
elevated him to a high position in the estimation of his 
countrymen. His selection for the State Department 
was received with very general satisfaction throughout 
the Union. 

On receiving notice of his appointment to this 
responsible office, Mr. Adams, with his family, em- 
barked for the United States, on board the packet-ship 


Washington, and landed in New York on the 6th of 
August, 1817. 

A few days after his arrival, a public dinner was 
given Mr. Adams, in Tammany Hall, New York. 
The room was elegantly decorated. In the centre 
was a handsome circle of oak leaves, roses, and flags — 
the whole representing, with much eftect, our happy 
Union — and from the centre of which, as from her 
native woods, appeared our eagle, bearing in her beak 
this impressive scroll : — 

" Columbia, great Republic, thou art blest. 
While Empires droop, and Monarclis sink to rest." 

Gov. De Witt Clinton, the Mayor of New York, 
and about two hundred citizens of the highest respect- 
ability, sat down to the table. Among other speeches 
made on the occasion, was the following from an 
English gentleman, a Mr. Fearon, of London : — 

" As several gentlemen have volunteered songs, I 
would beg leave |o offer a sentiment, which I am sure 
will meet the hearty concurrence of all present. But, 
previous to which, I desire to express the high satisfac- 
tion which this day's entertainment has afforded me. 
Though a native of Great Britain, and but a few days 
in the United States, I am for the first tinie in my life 
in a free country, surrounded by free men ; and when 
I look at the inscription which decorates your eagle, I 
rejoice that I have been destined to see this day. A 
great number of the enlightened portion of my coun- 


trymen advocate your cause — admire your principles. 
And though we have, unfortunately, been engaged in 
a war, I trust the result has taught wisdom to both 
parties. In your political institutions you have set a 
noble example, which, if followed throughout the 
world, will rescue mankind from the dominion of those 
tyrants who jeer at the destruction which they pro- 
duce — 

' Like the moonl>eams on the blasted heath, 
Mockinof its desolation.' 

''Gentlemen, in conclusion, I beg to express the 
delight which I feelj and propose to you as a toast — 
May the United States be an example to the world ; 
and may civil and religious liberty cover the earth, as 
the waters do the channels of the deep." 

A public dinner was also given Mr. Adams on his 
arrival in Boston. Mr. Gray presided, and Messrs. 
Otis, Blake, and Mason, acted as Vice Presidents. 
His father, the venerable ex-President John Adams, 
was present as a guest. Among other toasts given on 
the occasion, were the following : — 

" The United States. — May our public officers, abroad and at home, 
continue to be distinguished for integrity, talents, and patriotism." 

" The Commissioners at Ghent. — The negotiations for peace 
have been declared, in the British House of Lords, to wear the 
stamp of American superiority." 

" American Manufactures. — A sure and necessary object for the 
security of American independence." 

This occasion must have been one of great interest 



to the patriarch John Adams, then more than four- 
score years of age. Nearly forty years before, he had 
said of his son : — " He behaves like a man !" That 
son, in the prime of his days, had recently been called 
from foreign service, where he had obtained accumu- 
lated honors, to fill the highest station in the gift of the 
Executive of his country. The people of two conti- 
nents would now unite with the venerable sa2;e, in re- 
peating the declaration — " He behaves like a man !" 
The patriarch stood upon the verge of the grave. But 
as the sun of his existence w^as gently and calmly sink- 
ing beneath the horizon, lo ! its beams were reflected 
in their pristine brightness by another orb, born from 
its bosom, which was steadily ascending to the zenith 
of earthly fame ! 

John Qiilncy Adams took up his residence at Wash- 
ington, and entered upon his duties as Secretary of 
State, in September, 1817. 

During the eight years of President Monroe's admin- 
istration, Mr. Adams discharged the duties of the state 
department, with a fidelity and success which received 
not only the unqualified approbation of the President, 
but of the whole country. To him that office was no 
sinecure. His labors were incessant. He spared no 
pains to qualify himself to discuss, with consummate 
skill, whatever topics legitimately claimed his attention. 
The President, the cabinet, the people, reposed im- 
plicit trust in his ability to promote the interests of the 
nation in all matters of diplomacy, and confided unre- 


servedly in his pure American feelings and love of 
country. Perfectly familiar as he was with the politi- 
cal condition of the world, Mr. Monroe entrusted him, 
without hesitation, with the management of the foreign 
policy of the Government, during his administration. 

In the autumn of 1817, the Seminole and a portion 
of the Creek Indians commenced depredations on the 
frontiers of Georgia and Alabama. Troops were sent 
to reduce them, under Gen. Gaines. His force being 
too weak to bring them to subjection, Gen. Jackson 
was ordered to take the field with a more numerous 
army, with which he overran the Indian country. Be- 
lieving it necessary to enter Florida, then a Spanish 
territory, for the more effectual subjugation of the In- 
dians, he did not hesitate to pursue them thither. The 
Spanish authorities protested against the invasion of 
their domains, and offered some opposition. Gen. Jack- 
son persisted, and in the result, took possession of St. 
Marks and Pensacola, and sent the Spanish authorities 
and troops to Havana. 

Among the prisoners taken in this expedition, were 
a Scotchman and an Englishman, named Arbuthnot 
and Ambrister. They were British subjects, but were 
charged with supplying the Indians with arms and 
munitions of war ; stirring them up against the whites, 
and acting as spies. On these charges they were tried 
by a court martial, of which Gen. Gaines vv^as Pres- 
ident — found guilt}^ — condemned to death, and executed 
on the 27th of April, 1818. 


These transactions of Gen. Jackson caused great ex- 
citement throughout the United States, and subjected 
him to no httle blame. The subject excited much de- 
bate in Congress. A resolution censuring him for his 
summary proceedings was introduced, but voted down 
by a large majority. In Mr. Monroe's cabinet, there 
was a strong feeling against Gen. Jackson. The 
President, and all the members, with a single exception, 
were disposed to hold him responsible for having tran- 
scended his orders. Hon. Wm. H. Crawford, who was 
in Mr. Monroe's cabinet at that time, in a letter to Mr. 
Forsyth, says : — " Mr. Calhoun's proposition in the 
cabinet was, that Gen. Jackson should be punished in 
some form, or reprimanded in some form." 

Mr. Adams alone vindicated Gen. Jackson. He in- 
sisted that inasmuch as the Government had ordered 
him to pursue the enemy into Florida, if necessary, they 
were responsible for the acts of the American general, 
in the exercise of the discretionary power with which 
he had been clothed. Several cabinet meetinojs were 
held on the subject, in July, 1818, in which the whole 
matter was thoroughly discussed. Mr. Adams suc- 
ceeded at length in bringing the President into the 
adoption of his views, which Mr. Monroe substantially 
embodied in his next annual message to Congress. 

The intelligence of the execution of Arbuthnot and 
Ambrister, excited the highest indignation in England. 
The people viewed it as a violation of the rights of 
British subjects, and an insult to their nation, and were 



ready to rush to war. Lord Castlereagh declared to 
Mr. Rush, the American Minister, that had the Enghsh 
cabinet but held up a finger, war would have been de- 
clared against the United States. But so able and 
convincing were the arguments which Mr. Adams 
directed Mr. Rush to lay before the British Ministers, 
in defence of the proceedings of Gen. Jackson, that 
they became convinced there was no just cause of war 
between the two countries, and exerted their influence 
against any movement in that direction. 

On the 22nd of February, 1819, a treaty was con 
eluded at Washington, between the United States and 
Spain, by which East and West Florida, with the ad- 
jacent islands, were ceded to the Union. The negotia- 
tions which resulted in the consummation of the treaty, 
were conducted by Mr. Adams and Luis de Onis the 
Spanish Ambassador. This treaty was very advanta- 
geous to the United States. It brought to a close a 
controversy with Spain, of many years' standing, which 
had defied all the exertions of former administrations 
to adjust, and placed our relations with that country 
on the most amicable footins;. In eflectincr this recon- 
ciliation, Mr. Adams deserved and received a high 
share of credit. 

The recognition of the independence of the Spanish 
South American Provinces, by the Government of the 
United States, took place during Mr. Adams's admin- 
istration of the State Department. Tlie honor of 
first proposing this recognition, in the Congress of the 


United States, and of advocating it with unsurpassed 
eloquence and zeal, belongs to the patriotic Henry 
Clay. Mainly by his influence, the House of Repre- 
sentatives, in 1820, passed the following resolutions: — • 

" Resolved, That the House of Representatives participate with 
the people of the United States, in the deep interest which they feel 
for the success of the Spanish Provinces of South America, which 
are struggling to establish their liberty and independence. 

" Resolved, That this House will give its constitutional support- 
to the President of the United States, whenever he may deem it ex- 
pedient to recognize the sovereignty and independence of any of 
said Provinces." 

Mr. Adams at first hesitated on this subject. Not 
that he was opposed to the diffusion of the blessings of 
freedom to the oppressed. No man was a more ardent 
lover of liberty, or was more anxious that its institu- 
tions should be established throughout the earth, at the 
earliest practicable moment. But he had many and se- 
rious doubts whether the people of the South American 
Provinces were capable of originating and maintaining 
an enliirhtened self-sovernment. There was a lack of 
general intelligence among the people — a want of an 
enlarged and enlightened understanding of the princi- 
ples of rational freedom — which led him to apprehend 
that their attempts at self-government would for a long 
season, at least, result in th6 reign of faction and 
anarchy, rather than true republican principles. The 
subsequent history of these countries — the divisions 
and contentions, the revolutions and counter-revolu- 
tions, which have rent them asunder, and deluged 


them in blood — dearly show that Mr. Adams but exer- 
cised a far-seeing intelligence in entertaining these 
doubts. Nevertheless, as they had succeeded in throw- 
ing off the Spanish yoke, and had, in fact, achieved 
their independence, Mr. Adams would not throw any 
impediment in their way. Trusting that his fears as 
to their ability for self-government might be ground- 
less, he gave his influence to the recognizing of their 
independence by the United States. 

In 1821 the Greek revolution broke out. The peo- 
ple of that classic land, after enduring ages of the most 
brutal and humiliating oppression from the Turks, 
nobly resolved to break the chains of the Ottoman 
power, or perish in the attempt. The war was long,' 
and sanguinary, but finally resulted in the emancipa- 
tion of Greece, and the establishment of its independ- 
ence as a nation. 

The inhabitants of the United States could not wit- 
ness such a struggle with indifference. A spirit of 
sympathy ran like electricity throughout the land. 
Public meetings were held in nearly every populous 
town in the Union, in which resolutions, encouraging 
the Greeks in their struggle, were passed, and contri- 
butions taken up to aid them. Money, clothing, pro- 
visions, arms, were collected in immense quantities and 
shipped to Greece. In churches, colleges, academies 
and schools — at the theatz'es, museums, and other 
places of amusement and public resort — aid was freely 
and generously given in behalf of the struggling pa» 


Iriots. Many citizens of the United States, when the 
first blast of the trumpet of Hberty rang along the Ionian 
seas, and through the Peloponnesus, sped across the 
ocean, and, throwing themselves into the midst of the 
Grecian hosts, contended heroically for their emanci- 
pation. Among these volunteers, was Col. J. P. Mil- 
ler, of Vermont, who not only gallantly fought in the 
battles of Greece, but was greatly serviceable in con- 
veying supplies from the United States to that strug- 
gling people. 

The deep sympathy which prevailed in every section 
of the Union, was soon felt in Congress. Many public 
men were anxious that the Government should take 
some important and decisive step, even to hostilities, in 
behalf of Greece. Eloquent speeches were delivered in 
the House of Representatives on the exciting topic. 
Mr. Clay electrified the country with his stirring 
appeals in behalf of the land in which was established the 
first republic on earth. Mr. Webster submitted the fol- 
lowing resolution to the House of Representatives : — 

" Resolved, That provision ought to he made by law, for defray- 
ing the expense incident to the appointment of an Agent, or Com- 
missioner, to Greece, whenever the President shall deem it expedient 
to make such appointment." 

In support of this resolution, Mr. Webster made a 
most eloquent speech, of which the following is the 
conclusion : — 

" Mr. Chairman^There are some things which, to be 
well done, must be promptly done. If we even deter- 


mine to do the thing that is now proposed, we may do 
it too late. Sir, I am not of those who are for with- 
holding aid when it is most urgently needed, and when 
the stress is past, and the aid no longer necessary, over- 
whelming the sufferers with caresses. I will not stand 
by and see my fellow-man drowning, without stretch- 
ing out a hand to help him, till he has, by his own 
efforts and presence of mind, reached the shore in 
safety, and then encumber him with aid. With suffer- 
ing Greece, now is the crisis of her fate — her great, it 
may be her last struggle. Sir, while we sit here de- 
liberating, her destiny may be decided. The Greeks, 
contending with ruthless oppressors, turn their eyes to 
us, and invoke us, by their ancestors, by their slaugh- 
tered wives and children, by their own blood poured 
out like water, by the hecatombs of dead they have 
heaped up, as it were, to heaven ; they invoke, they 
implore from us some cheering sound, some look of 
sympathy, some token of compassionate regard. They 
look to us as the great Republic of the earth — and they 
ask us, by our common faith, v/hether we can forget 
that they are struggling, as we once struggled, for what 
we now so happily enjoy ? I cannot say, sir, they will 
succeed ; that rests with heaven. But, for myself, sir, 
if I should to-morrow hear that they have failed — that 
their last phalanx had sunk beneath the Turkish cime- 
tar, that the flames of their last city had sunk in its 
ashes, and that nought remained but the wide, melan- 
choly waste where Greece once was — I should still e- 


fleet, with the most heartfelt satisfaction, that I have 
asked you, in the name of seven millions of freemen, 
that you v^ould give them, at least, the cheering of one 
friendly voice.'* 

The committee having in charge the raising of a 
fund for the assistance of the Greeks, in New York, 
addressed a circular to the venerable ex-President John 
Adams, to which they received the following reply : — 

'' Quincy, Dec. 29, 1823. 

" Gentlemen : — I have received your circular of the 12th inst, 
and I thank you for the honor you have done me in addressing it to 
me. Be assured my heart beats in unison vi^ith yours, and with 
those of your constituents, and I presume with all the really civil- 
ized part of mankind, in sympathy with the Greeks, suffering, as they 
are, in the great cause of liberty and humanity. The gentlemen 
of Boston have taken measures to procure a general subscription in 
their favor, through the State, and I shall contribute my mite with 
great pleasure. In the meantime I wish you, and all other gentlemen 
engaged in the virtuous work, all the success you or they can wish ; 
for I believe no effort in favor of virtue will be ultimately lost. 

" I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, your very humble Servant, 

"John Adams." 

The sympathies of John Qumcy Adams were ar- 
dently enlisted in behalf of the Greek Revolution. But 
with a prudence and wisdom which characterized all 
his acts, he threw his influence against any direct in- 
terference on the part of the Government of the United 
States. It would have been a departure from that 
neutral policy, in regard to European conflicts, on 
which the country had acted from the commencement 
of our national existence, alike injurious and dangerous. 


He knew if we once entered into these wars, on any 
pretext whatever, a door would be opened for foreign 
entanglements and endless conflicts, which would re- 
sult in standing armies, immense national debts, and the 
long trail of evils of which they are the prolific source. 
When an application was made to Mr. Adams, as 
Secretary of State, through Mr. Rush, our Minister at 
London, by an Agent of Greece, for aid from the 
United States, he was compelled, on principles above 
stated, to withhold the required assistance. The cor- 
respondence which grew out of this application is suf- 
ficientlv interesting to find a place in these pages : — 

" Andreas Lurioltis, Envoy of the Provisional Government of 
Greece, to the Hon. John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State to 
the United States of America. 

Sir : — ^I feel no slight emotion, while, in behalf of Greece, my 
country, struggling for independence and liberty, I address myself 
to the United States of America. 

" The independence for which we combat, you have achieved. 
The liberty to which we look, with anxious solicitude, you have ob- 
tained, and consolidated in peace and in glory. 

" Yet Greece, old Greece, the seat of early civilization and free- 
dom, stretches out her hands, imploringly, to a land which sprung 
into being, as it were, ages after her own lustre had been extin- 
guished ! and ventures to hope that the youngest and most vigorous 
sons of liberty, will regard, with no common sympathy, the efforts 
of the descendants of the heir and the elder born, whose precepts 
and whose example have served — though insufficient, hitherto, for 
our complete regeneration — to regenerate half a world. 

" I know, Sir, that the sympathies of the generous people of the 
United States have been extensively directed towards us ; and 
since I have reached this country, an interview with their Minister, 
Mr. Rush, has served to convince me more slrongly, how great their 


claim is on our gratitude and our affection. May I hope that some 
means may be found to communicate these our feelings, of which 
I am so proud to be the organ ? We will still venture to rely on 
their friendship. We would look to their individual, if not to their 
national, co-operation. Every, the slightest, assistance under present 
circumstances, will aid the progress of the great work of liberty ; 
and if, standing, as we have stood, alone and unsupported, with 
everything opposed to us, and nothing to encourage us but patriot- 
ism, enthusiasm, and sometimes even despair : if thus we have 
gone forward, liberating our provinces, one after another, and sub- 
duing every force which has been directed against us, what may 
we not do with the assistance for which we venture to appeal to tho 
generous and the free ? 

" Precipitated by circumstances into that struggle for independ- 
ence, which, ever since the domination of our cruel and reckless 
tyrants, liad never ceased to be the object of our vows and prayers, 
we have, by the blessing of God, freed a considerable part of Greece 
from the ruthless invaders. The Peloponnesus, Etolia, Carmania, 
Attica, Phocida, Boetia, and the Islands of the Archipelago and 
Candia, are nearly free. The armies and the fleets which have 
been sent against us, have been subdued by the valor of our troops 
and our marine. Meanwhile we have organized a government, 
founded upon popular suffrages : and you will probably have seen 
how closely our organic law assimilates to that constitution under 
which your nation so happily and so securely hves. 

" I. have been sent hither by the government of Greece, to obtain 
assistance in our determined enterprize, on which we, Uke you, have 
staked our Hves, our fortunes, and. our sacred honor : and I believe 
my journey has not been wholly without success. I should have 
been wanting to my duty had I not addressed you, supplicating the 
earliest display of your amiable purposes ; entreating that diplo- 
matic relations may be established' between us ; communicating the 
most earnest desire of my government that we may be allowed to 
call you allies as well as friends ; and stating that we shall rejoice 
to enter upon discussions which may lead to immediate and advan- 
tageous treaties, and to receive diplomatic agents witliout delay. 
Both at Madrid and at Lisbon, I have been received with great kind- 
ness by the American Representative, and am pleased to record tho 
expression of my gratitude. 


" Though, fortunately, you are so far removed, and raised so much 
above the narrow politics of Europe as to be little influenced by 
their vicissitudes, I venture to believe that Mr. Rush will explain 
to you the changes which have taken place, and are still in action 
around us, in our favor. And I conclude, rejoicing in the hope 
that North America and Greece may be united in the bonds of long- 
enduring, and unbroken concord : and have the honor to be, with 
every sentiment of respect, your obedient humble servant. 

• " And. Luriottis. 
'London, Felruary 20, 1823." 


c " Department of Stale, 

\ Washington, ISth August, 1823. 

" Sir : — I have the honor of inclosing, herewith, an answer to 
the letter from Mr. Luriottis, the Agent of the Greeks addressed 
to me, and a copy of which was transmitted with your dispatch 
No. 295. 

" If, upon the receipt of this letter, Mr. Luriottis should still be 
in London, it will be desirable that you should deliver it to him in 
person, accompanied with such remarks and explanations as may 
satisfy him, and those whom he represents, that, in declining the 
proposal of giving active aid to the cause of Grecian emancipation, 
the Executive Government of the United States has been governed 
not by its inclinations, or a sentiment of indifference to the cause, 
but by its constitutional duties, clear and unequivocal. 

" The United States could give assistance to the Greeks, only by 
the application of some portion of their public forces or of their 
public revenue in their favor, which would constitute them in a state 
of war with the Ottoman Porte, and perhaps with all the Barbary 
powers. To make this disposal either of force or of treasure, you 
are aware is, by our constitution, not within the competency of the 
Executive. It could be determined only by an act of Congress, 
which would assuredly not be adopted, should it even be recom- 
mended by the Executive. 

"The policy of the United States, with reference to foreign 
nations, has always been founded upon the moral principle of nature. 
law — Peace with all mankind. From whatever cause war between 



Other nations, whether forei^ or domestic, has arisen, tlie unvary- 
ing law of the United States has been jpeace with both belligerents. 
From the first war of the French Revolution, to the recent invasion 
of Spain, there has been a succession of wars, national and civil, in 
almost every one of which one of the parties was contending for 
liberty or independence. In the first French revolutionary war, a 
strong impulse of feeling urged the people of the United States to 
take side with the party which, at its commencement, was contend- 
ing, apparently, at least, for both. Had the policy of the United 
States not been essentially pacific, a stronger case to claim their 
interference could scarcely have been presented. They neverthe- 
less declared themselves neutral, and the principle, then deliberately 
settled, has been invariably adhered to ever since. 

" With regard to the recognition of sovereign States, and the es- 
tablishment with them of a diplomatic intercourse, the experience 
of the last tliirty years has served also to ascertain the limits proper 
for the application of principles in which every nation must exer- 
cise some latitude of discretion. Precluded by their neutral posi- 
tion from interfering in the question of right, the United States 
have recognized the fact of foreign sovereignty only when it was 
undisputed, or disputed without any rational prospect of success. 
In this manner the successive changes of government in many of 
tlie European states, and the revolutionary governments of South 
America, have been acknowledged. The condition of the Greeks 
is not yet such as will admit of their recognition, upon these 

" Yet, as we cherish the most friendly feelings towards them, and 
are sincerely disposed to render them any service which may be 
compatible with our neutrality, it will give us pleasure to learn, 
from time to time, the actual state of their cause, political and 
military. Should Mr. Luriottis be enabled and disposed to furnish 
this information, it may always be communicated through you, and 
will be received with satisfaction here. The public accounts from 
that quarter have been of late very scanty,, and we shall be glad to 
obtain any authentic particulars, which may come to your knowl- 
edge from this, or through any other channel. 

" I am with great respect, Sir, your very humble and obedient 
servant, Johm Quincy Adams." 



i " Department of State, 

I Washington, 18th August, 1823. 

** Sir : A copy of the letter which you did me the honor of ad- 
dressing to me, on the 20th of February kst, has been transmitted 
to me by the Minister of the United States at London, and has re- 
ceived the deUberate consideration of the President of the United 

" The sentiments with which he has witnessed the struggles of 
four countrymen for their national emancipation and independence, 
had been made manifest to the world in a public message to the 
Congress of the United States. They are cordially felt by the peo- 
ple of this Union ; who, sympathising with the cause of freedom 
and independence wherever its standard is unfurled, behold with pe- 
culiar interest the display of Grecian energy in defence of Grecian 
liberties, and the association of heroic exertions, at the present time, 
with the proudest glories of former ages, in the land of Eparainondas 
and Philopoemon. 

" But while cheering with their best wishes the cause of the 
Greeks, the United States are forbidden, by the duties of their situ- 
ation, from taking part in the war, to which their relation is that 
of neutrality. At peace themselves with all the world, their estab- 
lished policy, and the obligations of the laws of nations, preclude 
them from becoming voluntary auxiliaries to a cause v/hich would 
involve them in war. 

" If in the progress of events the Greeks should be enabled to 
establish and organize themselves as an independent nation, the 
United States will be among the first to welcome them, in that ca- 
pacity, into the general family ; to establish diplomatic and commer- 
cial relations with them, suited to the mutual interests of the two 
countries ; and to recognize, with special satisfaction, their consti- 
tuted state in the character of a sister Republic. 

" I have the honor to be, with distinguished consideration, Sir, 
your very humble and obedient servant, 

" John Quincy Adams." 

The sentiments, in regard to the foreign policy of 


our Government, which Mr. Adama embodies in this 
correspondence, he had previously expressed in an ora- 
tion delivered in the city of Washington, on the 4th of 
July, 1821, of which the following is an extract ; — 

" America, in the assembly of nations, since her ad- 
mission among them, has invariably, though often fruit- 
lessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, 
of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity ; she has 
uniformly spoken among them, though often to heed- 
less, and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal 
liberty, of equal justice, and equal rights ; she has, in 
the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single ex- 
ception, respected the independence of other nations 
while asserting and maintaining her own ; she has ab- 
stained from interference in the concerns of others, 
even when the conflict has been for principles to which 
she clings as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. 
She has seen that probably for centuries to come all 
the contests of that Aceldama, the European world, 
will be contests of inveterate power and emerging 
right. Wherever the standard of freedom and inde- 
pendence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her 
heart, her benedictions, and her prayers be. But she 
goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She 
is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence 
of all — she is the champion and vindicator only of her 
own. She will recommend the general cause, by the 
countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy 
of her example : — she well knows that by once enlisting 


under other banners than her own, were they even the 
banners of foreign independence, she would involve 
herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars 
of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy 
and ambition, which assume, the colors, and usurp the 
standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her 
policy would insensibly change from liberty to force ; 
the frontlet on her brow would no longer beam with 
the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence ; 
but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial 
diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre, the murky 
radiance of dominion and power. She might become 
the dictatress of the w^orld : she w^ould be no longer 
the ruler of her own spirit." 

During Mr. Adams's occupancy of the state depart- 
ment, efforts were made by the American Government 
to abolish the African slave trade,, and procure its de- 
nunciation as piracy, by the civilized world. On the 
28th of Feb., 1823, the following resolution was 
adopted by the House of Representatives, at Wash- 
ington, by a vote of 131 to 9 : — 

" Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested 
to enter upon and to prosecute, from time to time, such negotiations 
with the several maratime powers of Europe and America, as he 
may deem expedient for the effectual abolition of the African slave 
trade, and its ultimate denunciation as piracy, under the law of 
nations, by the consent of the civilized world." 

In compliance with this resolution, Mr. Adams, as 
Secretary of State, issued directions to the American 


Ministers 'n Spain, Russia, the Netherlands, Colombia, 
and Buenos Ayres, to enter into negotiations with the 
Governments of these countries on this subject. Mr. 
Adams also maintained an able correspondence with 
the Hon. Stratford Canning, the British iMinister at 
Washington, in relation to the basis on which a treaty 
should be formed with Great Britain for the suppres- 
sion of the foreign slave trade. 

Mr. Rush, the American IMinister at the Court of 
St. James, was directed to enter upon negotiations in 
London, to this end. His instructions were written 
by Mr. Adams, with his usual sound judgment and en- 
larged views of national policy, and the claims of hu 
manity. The convention was in due time completed, 
and signed by the Plenipotentiaries of both nations, on 
the 13th of March, 1824, and was sent by Mr. Rush to 
Washington for ratification. Mr. Monroe and Mr. 
Adams were ready to give it their sanction ; but the 
Senate insisted on striking out a provision in the first 
article. The article commenced as follows : — 

" The commanders and commissioned officers of each of the two 
high contracting parties, duly authorized, under the regulations and 
instructions of their respective Governments, to cruise on the coasts 
of Africa, of America, and of the West Indies, for the suppression 
of the slave trade, shall be empowered, under the conditions, lim- 
itations, and restrictions hereinafter specified," &lc. 

The Senate struck out the words '^ of America.^' 
This amendment the British Government would not 


assent to. Thus the negotiation on the slave trade, so 
near a consummation, fell to the ground. 

Mr. Monroe's administration closed on the 3rd of 
March, 1825. It was a period of uninterrupted pros- 
perity to the country. Our foreign commerce, recover- 
ing from the paralysis caused by the embargo, the non- 
intercourse act, and the war, spread forth its wings 
and whitened every sea and ocean on the globe. The 
domestic condition of the Union was thriving beyond 
the precedent of many former years. Improvements 
in agriculture were developed ; domestic manufac- 
tures received a fair protection and encouragement ; 
internal improvements, gaining more and more the at- 
tention and confidence of the people, had been prose- 
cuted to the evident benefit of all branches of business 
and enterprize. 

Another characteristic of the administration of Mr. 
Monroe is worthy of note.- So judiciously and pa- 
triotically had he exercised the powers entrusted to 
him, that he disarmed opposition. Divisions, jealousies 
and contentions were destroyed, and a thorough fusion 
of all political parties took place. At his re-election 
for the second term of the presidency, there was no 
opposing candidate. There was but one party, and 
that was the great party of the American people. His 
election was unanimous. 

In all these measures, Mr. Adams was the coadjutor 
and confidential adviser of Mr. Monroe. It is no der- 
ogation from the well-merited reputation of the latter 


to say, that many of the most striking and praiseworthy 
features of his administration were enstamped upon 
it by the labor and influence of the former. His suc- 
cess in maturing and carrying into execution his most 
popular measures must be attributed, in no small ex- 
tent, to the ability and faithfulness of his eminent 
Secretary of State. And the historian may truly re- 
cord that to John Quincy Adams, in an eminent degree, 
belongs a portion of the honor and credit which have 
been so generally accorded to the administration of 
James Monroe. 







James Monroe was the last of the illustrious line of 
Presidents whose claims to that eminent station dated 
back to the revolution. A grateful people had con- 
ferred the highest honors in their gift upon the most 
conspicuous of those patriots who had faithfully served 
them in that perilous struggle, and aided in construct- 
ing and consolidating the union of these States. This 
debt punctually and honorably discharged, they looked 
to another generation, possessing claims of a different 
description, for servants to elevate to the dignity of 
the presidential chair. 

In the midst of a large class of public men who had 
in the mean time become conspicuous for talents and 
services of various descriptions, it is no matter of sur- 
prise that the people of the United States should 
entertain a diversity of opinions in regard to the most 
suitable individual to fill a station which had hitherto 
been occupied by men whose virtues and whose patriot- 


ism had shed the brightest lustre on the American name 
and character throughout the world. Candidates for 
the presidency were nominated in various sections of 
the Union. The eastern States turned their eyes 
instinctively towards John Quincy Adams, as one, 
among all the eminent competitors, the most fitted, by 
character and services, for the office of President of 
the United States. The members of the Legislature 
of Maine resolved — 

" That the splendid talents and incorruptible integrity of John 
Quincy Adams, his republican habits and principles, distinguished 
public services, and extensive knowledge of, and devoted attachment 
to, the vital interests of the country, justly entitle him to the first 
honors in the gift of an enlightened and grateful people." 

The republican members of the Massachusetts 
Legislature adopted the following resolutions : — 

" Resolved, That the ability, experience, integrity and patriotism 
of John Quincy Adams ; his manly efforts to defend the principles 
of that government under which, in God's providence, we hope to 
die ; his unshaken fortitude and resolution in all political exigencies ; 
his long, faithful, and valuable services, under the patronage of all 
the Presidents of the United States, present him to the people of this 
nation, as a man eminently qualified to subserve the best interests 
of his country, and as a statesman without reproach. 

" Resolved, Tliat a man who has given such continued and indu- 
bitable pledges of his patriotism and capacity, may be safely placed 
at the head of this nation. Every impulse of his heart, and every 
dictate of his mind, must unite promptly in the support of the inter- 
ests, the honor, and the liberty of his country. 

" Resolved, That John Quincy Adams is hereby recommended by 
us to the people of the United States, as the most suitable candidate 
for the office of President, at the approaching election." 


A meeting of the citizens of Rhode Island passed 
he following among other resolutions : — 

" Resolved, That, although we duly acknowledge the talents and 
public services of all the candidates for the presidency, we have the 
fullest confidence in the acknowledged ability, integrity and experi- 
ence of John Quincy Adams, the accomplished scholar, the true 
republican, the enlightened statesman, and the honest man ; and w© 
are desirous that his merits should be rewarded with the first offica 
in the gift of the people of the United States — that his future ser- 
vices may continue unto us those blessings which, under the present 
administration of the General Government, we have so abundantly 

These were high encomiums. But who among the 
American people, now that the patriot has departed 
from earth, can survey his life, his character, and his 
services, and not acknowledge they were justly and 
richly deserved ? Similar resolutions were passed in 
all the eastern and many of the northern, States. 

The west brought forward Henry Clay, one of the 
most popular orators and eminent statesman of the day. 
Gen. Jackson, who had earned a splendid military rep- 
utation, was nominated in the southwest, and Wm. H. 
Crawford was selected as the candidate representing 
the southern portion of the confederacy. These were 
all men of eminence and of acknowledged talents. 
They were worthy competitors for the highest honors 
of the Republic. 

The friends of Mr. Adams rested his claims for the 
presidency on no factitious qualities. They urged 
that his characteristics were such as to commend hino 


to the confidence of every true republican and weif- 
wisher of liis country. While his attainments were 
not of the showy and popular cast possessed by many 
public men, they yet were of that solid, practical and 
valuable desc, iption which must ever receive the sanc- 
tion of intelligent and reflecting minds. 

The qualifications on which his supporters depended, 
and to which they called the attention of the American 
people, as reasons for elevating him to the head of the 
General Government, may be summarily enumerated 
as follows : — 1. The purity of his private character — 
the simplicity of his personal habits — his unbending in- 
tegrity and uprightness, even beyond suspicion. 2. His 
commanding talents, and his acquirements both as a 
scholar and a statesman. 3. His love of country — his 
truly American feelings, in all that concerned the wel- 
fare and honor of the United States. 4. His long 
experience in public affairs, especially his familiarity 
with our foreign relations, and his perfect knowledge of 
the institutions, the internal condition and policy of 
European nations. 5. His advocacy of protection to 
domestic manufactures, and of a judicious system ot 
internal improvements. 

In regard to internal improvements by the General 
Government, there was a difTerence of opinion between 
Mr. Adams and President Monroe. The latter was 
strongly impressed with the beneficial tendency of a 
well-digested system of internal improvements ; but he 
believed the constitution conferred no power on Con 


gress to make appropriations for such a purpose. It 
was in this view of the subject that he vetoed a bill 
which assumed the right to adopt and execute such a 
system, passed by Congress during the session of 
1820-21. But anxious that internal improvements, 
confined to great national purposes, and with proper 
limitations, should be prosecuted, he suggested that an 
amendment of the constitution to that effect should be 
recommended to the several States. 

Mr. Adams, however, had no doubts that Congress 
already possessed a constitutional power to prosecute 
such internal improvements as were of a national 
character, and calculated to benefit the Union, and to 
levy duties for the protection of domestic manufactures. 
During his entire political career he had deemed these 
to be two great points toward which the American 
Government and people should turn their especial at- 
tention ; and he ever gave them his faithful advocacy 
and support. With consummate wisdom, he foresaw 
that the more completely our internal resources were 
developed, and the less dependent we were on foreign 
powers, the greater would be our public and private 
prosperity. He insisted that by an adequate protection 
of domestic manufactures, there would be an increased 
demand for our raw materials at home, and thus the 
several productive and manufacturing sections of the 
Republic would realize the benefits of a dependence on 
each other, and the Union would be consolidated and 
perpetuated for ages to come. 


While a candidate for the presidency, Mr. Adams 
received a letter inquiring his views on the subject of 
internal improvement. The following is an extract 
from his reply : — 

« On the 23rd of Feb., 1807, 1 offered, in the Senate of the United 
States, of which I was then a member, the first resolution, as I 
believe, that ever was presented to Congress, contemplating a geu' 
eral system of internal improvement. I thought that Congress pos- 
sessed the power of appropriating money to such improvement, and 
of authorizing the works necessary for making it — subject always 
to the territorial rights of the several States in or throuffh which the 
improvement is to be made, to be secured by the consent of their 
Legislatures, and to proprietary rights of individuals, to be pur- 
chased or indemnified. I still hold the same opinions ; and, although 
highly respecting the purity of intention of those who object, on 
constitutional grounds, to the exercise of this power, it is with 
heartfelt satisfaction that I perceive those objections gradually yield- 
ing to the paramount influence of the general welfare. Already 
have appropriations of money to great objects of internal improve- 
ment been freely made ; and I hope we shall both live to see the 
day, when the only question of our statesmen and patriots, con- 
cerning the authority of Congress to improve, by public works es- 
sentially beneficent, and beyond the means of less than national re- 
sources, the condition of our common country, will be how it ever 
could have been doubted." 

On another occasion, Mr. Adams expressed himself 
on the subject of internal improvements in the follow- 
ing manner : — 

" The question of the power of Congress to authorize the making 
of internal improvements, is, in other words, a question whether the 
people of this Union, in forming their common social compact, as 
avowedly for the purpose of promoting their general welfare, have 
performed their work in a manner so ineffably stupid as to deny 
themselves the means of bettering their own condition. I have too 
much respect for the intellect of my country to believe it. The 


first object of human association is the improvement of the condition 
of the associated. Roads and canals are amonff the most essential 
means of improving the condition of nations. And a people which 
should deliberately, by the organization of its authorized power, de- 
prive itself of the faculty of multiplying its own blessings, would 
be as wise as a creator who should undertake to constitute a human 
being without a heart." 

In addition to other claims, the friends of Mr. Adams 
urged his elevation to the presidency on the ground 
of locality. During the thirty-six years which had 
passed since the adoption of the constitution, the Gen- 
eral Government had been administered but four years 
by a northern President. It was insisted with much 
force that the southern portion of the Republic had thus 
far exerted a disproportionate influence in the execu- 
tive department of the nation. While the north, 
although far the most populous, and contributing much 
the largest portion of the means for defraying the na- 
tional expenditures, would not claim to monopolize an 
undue degree of power in controlling the measures of 


administration, yet it could justly insist that its demands 
for an equitable share of influence should be heeded. 
These suggestions unquestionably possessed a weight 
in the minds of the people, favorable to the prospects 
of Mr. Adams. , 

The Presidential campaign of 1824, was more spir- 
ited and exciting than any that had taken place since 
the first election of Mr. Jefl^erson. It was novel in 
the number of candidates presented foi the suffrages of 


the people, and was conducted with great zeal and 
vigor by the friends of the different aspirants. Strictly 
speaking, it could not be called a party contest. Mr. 
Monroe's wise and prudent administration had obliter- 
ated party lines, and left a very general unanimity of 
sentiment on political principles and measures, through- 
out the Union. The various candidates — Adams, Jack- 
son, Clay, Crawford — all subscribed, substantially, to the 
same political creed, and entertained similar views as 
to the principles on which the General Government 
should be administered. The struggle was a personal 
and sectional one, more than of a party nature. 

It had long been foreseen that a choice of President 
would not be effected by the people. The result veri- 
fied this prediction. Of two hundred and sixty-one 
electoral votes, Gen. Jackson received ninety-nine, 
Mr. Adams eighty-four, Mr. Crawford forty-one, and 
Mr. Clay thirty-seven. Neither of the candidates hav- 
ing received a majority in the electoral colleges, the 
election devolved on the House of Representatives. 
This took place on the 9th of Feb., 1825. 

On the morning of that day, the House met at an 
earlier hour than usual. The galleries, the lobbies, and 
the adjacent apartments, were filled to overflowing with 
spectators from every part of the Union to witness the 
momentous event. It was a scene the most sublime 
that could be witnessed on earth. The Representatives 
of the People, in the exercise of the highest right of 


freemen, were about to select a citizen to administer 
the Government of a great Republic. 

All the members of the House were present, with 
the exception of one, who was confined by indisposi- 
tion. The Speaker (Henry Clay) took his chair, and 
the ordinary business of the morning was attended to 
in the usual manner. At 12 o'clock, precisely, the 
members of the Senate entered the hall, preceded by 
their Sergeant-at-arms, and having the President of 
the Senate at their head, who was invited to a seat on 
the right hand of the Speaker. The Senators were 
assigned seats in front of the Speaker's chair. 

The President of the Senate (Mr. Gaillard) then 
rose, and stated that the certificates forwarded by the 
electors from each State would be delivered to the 
Tellers. Mr. Tazewell of the Senate, and Messrs. 
John W. Taylor and Philip P. Barbour on the part of the 
House, took their places, as Tellers, at the Clerk's table. 
The President of the Senate then opened two packets, 
one received by messenger and the other by mail, con- 
taining the certificates of the votes of the State of 
New Hampshire. One of these certificates was then 
read by Mr. Tazewell, while the other was compared 
with it by Messrs. Taylor and Barbour. The whole 
having been read, and the votes of New Hampshire 
declared, they were set down by the Clerks of the Sen- 
ate and of the House of Representatives, seated at 
different tables. Thus the certificates from all the 
States were gone through with. At the conclusion, 


the Tellers left the Clerk's tables, and, presenting them- 
selves in front of the Speaker, Mr. Tazewell delivered 
their report of the votes given. 

The President of the Senate then rose, and declared 
that no person had received a majority of the votes 
given for President of the United States : that Andrew 
Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and William H. Craw- 
ford, were the three persons who had received the 
highest number of votes ; and that the remaining du- 
ties in the choice of a President now devolved on the 
House of Representatives. He further declared, that 
John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, having received 
182 votes, was duly elected Vice President of the 
United States, to serve four years from the 4th of 
March next. The members of the Senate then re- 

The Speaker directed the roll of the House to be 
called by States, and the members of the respective 
delegations to take their seats in the order in whicii the 
States should be called, beginning at the right hand of 
the Speaker. The delegations took their seats accord- 
ingly. Ballot-boxes were distributed to each delega- 
tion, by the Sergeant-at-arms, and the Speaker directed 
that the balloting should proceed. The ballots having 
all been deposited in the boxes. Tellers were named by 
the respective delegations, being one from each State, 
who took their seats at two tables. 

Mr. Webster of Massachusetts was appointed by 
those Tellers who sat at one table, and Mr. Randolph 


of Virginia by those at the other, to announce the 
result. After the ballots were counted out, Mr. 
Webster rose, and said : — 

" Mr. Speaker : The Tellers of the votes at this 
table have proceeded to count the ballots contained 
in the boxes set before them. The result they find to 
be, that there are for John Quincy Adams, of Mas- 
sachusetts, thirteen votes ; for Andrew Jackson, of 
Tennessee, sever) votes ; for William H. Crawford^ 
of Georgia, four votes." 

Mr. Randolph, from the other table, made a state- 
ment corresponding with that of Mr. Webster. 

The Speaker then stated this result to the House, 
and announced that John Quincy Adams, having a 
majority of the votes of these United States, was duly 
elected President of the same, for four years, com- 
mencing on the 4th day of March, 1825, 

A committee was appointed to wait upon Mr. 
Adams, and announce to him the result of the election, 
of which Mr. Webster was chairman. On performing 
this duty, they received from Mr. Adams the following 
reply : — 

Gentlemen : — In receiving tnis testimonial from the Representa- 
tives of the People and States of this Union, I am deeply sensible 
of the circumstances under which it has been given. All my pre- 
decessors have been honored with majorities of the electoral voices, 
in the primary colleges. It has been my fortune to be placed, by 
the divisions of sentiment prevailing among our countrymen on 
this occasion, in competition, friendly and honorable, with three of 
my fellow-citizens, all justly enjoying, in eminent degrees, the public 
favor ; and of whose wor^h, talents and services no one entertains 


a higher and more respectful sense than myself. The names of 
two of them were, in the fulfihneiit of the provisions of the con- 
stitution, presented to the selection of the House of Representatives 
in concurrence with my own, — names closely associated with the 
glory of the nation, and one of them farther recommended by a 
larger majority of the primary electoral suffrages thai; mine. 

In this state of things, could my refusal to accept the trust thus 
delegated to me give an opportunity to the people to form, and to 
express, with a nearer approach to unanimity, the object of their 
preference, I should not hesitate to decline the acceptance of this 
eminent charge, and to submit the decision of this momentous ques- 
tion again to their determination. But the constitution itself has 
not so disposed of the contingency which would arise in the event 
of my refusal. I shall, therefore, repair to the post assigned me by 
the call of my country, signffied through her constitutional organs; 
oppressed with the magnitude of the task before me, but cheered 
with the hope of that generous support from my fellow-citizens, 
which, in the vicissitudes of a life devoted to their service, has 
never failed to sustain me — confident in the trust, that the wisdom 
of the legislative councils will guide and direct me in the path of 
my official duty ; and relying, above all, upon the superintending 
providence of that Being " in whose hands our breath is, and whose 
are all our ways." 

" Gentlemen, I pray you to make acceptable to the House, the 
assurance of my profound gratitude for "their confidence, and to ac- 
cept yourselves my thanks for the friendly terms in which you have 
communicated to ilie their decision." 

The diffidence manifested by Mr. Adams in accept- 
ing the office of President, under the peculiar circum- 
stances of his election, and his wish, if it were possible, 
to submit his claims again to the people, were unques- 
tionably uttered with great sincerity of heart. He 
was the choice of but a minority, as expressed in the 
electoral vote ; and in accordance with his republican 
principles and feelings, he would have preferred another 


expression of public opinion. But the constitution 
made no provision for such an arbitrament. He must 
eithe^' serve or resign. In the latter case, the Vice 
President would have discharged the duties of Presi- 
dent during the term. Mr. Adams had no alternative, 
therefore, but to accept the office, agreeably to the 
terms of the constitution. Had either of his competi- 
tors been elected by the House of Representatives, they 
would have been, as he was, a minority President. 
Notwithstanding Gen. Jackson received fifteen more 
electoral votes than Mr. Adams, yet it is believed that 
in the primary assemblies the latter obtained a greater 
number of the actual votes of the people than the 

" Although Gen. Jackson had a plurality in the nom- 
inal returns from the electoral colleges, the question is, 
whether he had a plurality in the popular votes of the 
States. In North Carolina, the Crawford men had a 
great plurality over either of the Jackson and Adams 
sections ; but the two latter joining their forces, gave 
the electoral vote of the State, it being fifteen, to Gen. 
Jackson. Deduct this from Gen. Jackson's plurality — 
as it should be, if the principle of plurality is to gov- 
ern — and it leaves him eighty-four, the same as the 
vote of Mr. Adams. But Mr. Adams had a great 
plurality of the popular vote of New York, and on 
this principle should be credited the entire thirty-six 
votes of that State, w^hereas, he received only twenty- 
six. This adjustment would carry Mr, Adams up to 
G 10 


ninety-four, and leave Gen. Jackson with eighty-four 
Besides, the popular majorities for Mr. Adams in the 
six New England States were greatly in excess of 
the Jackson majorities in the eight States which gave 
their vote for him ; which lar£:elv auj^ments Mr. 
Adams' aggregate plurality in the Union over Gen. 
Jackson's. Then deduct the constitutional allowance 
for the slave vote in the slave States, as given by their 
masters. It will not be pretended that this is a popular 
vote, though constitutional. Gen. Jackson obtained 
fifty-jive electoral votes, more than half his entire vote, 
and Mr. Adams only six from slave States. It will 
therefore be seen, that on the principle of a popular 
plurality, carried out, and carried through, (it ought 
not to stop, for the advantage of one party,) Mr. 
Adams, in the election of 1824, was far ahead of Gen. 

On the the 4th of March, 1825, JohnQuincy Adams 
was inaugurated as President of the United States, 
and took the executive chair, which had been entered 
twenty-eight years before by his venerated father. 
The declaration of that father in reference to the son, 
when a lad — '' He behaves like a man !" — had gathered 
strength and meaning in the lapse of years. The people 
of the American republic, taught by a long series of 
faithful and eminent services, in the fulfilment of the 

♦ Colton's Life and Times of Henry Clay. 


prophetic words, placed him in a position the most 
elevated and honorable, the most worthy the aim of a 
pure and patriotic ambition, that earth can afford I 

The scene at the inauguration was splendid and 
imposing. At an early hour of the day the avenues 
leading to the capitol presented an animated spectacle. 
Crowds of citizens on foot, in carriages, and on horjie- 
back, were hastening to the great centre of attraction. 
Strains of martial music, and the movements of the 
various military corps, heightened the excitement. 

-At 12 o'clock, the military escort, consisting of gen- 
eral and staff officers, and several volunteer companies, 
received the President elect at his residence, together 
with President Monroe, and several officers of govern- 
ment. The procession, led by the cavalry, and accom- 
panied by an immense concourse of citizens, proceeded 
to the capitol, where it was received, with military 
honors, by the U. S. Marine Corps under Col. Hen- 

Meanwhile the hall of the House of Representatives 
presented a brilliant spectacle. The galleries and the 
lobbies were crowded with spectators. The sofas be- 
tween the columns, the bar, the promenade in the rear 
of the Speaker's chair, and the three outer rows of the 
members' seats, were occupied by a splendid array of 
beauty and fashion. On the left, the Diplomatic Corps, 
in the costume of their respective Courts, occupied the 
place assigned them, immediately before the steps 
which lead to the chair. The officers of the army and 


navy were scattered in groups throughout the hall. In 
front of the Clerk's table chairs were placed for the 
Judges of the Supreme Court. 

At twenty minutes past 12 o'clock, the marshals, in 
blue scarfs, made their appearance in the hall, at the 
head of the august procession. First came the officers 
of both Houses of Congress. Then appeared the Pres- 
ident elect, followed by the venerable ex-president 
Monroe, with his family. To these succeeded the 
Judges of the Supreme Court, in their robes of office, 
the members of the Senate, preceded by the Vice- 
President, with a number of the members of the House 
of Representatives. 

Mr. Adams, in a plain suit of black, made entirely 
of American manufactures, ascended to the Speakers 
chair, and took his seat. The Chief Justice was placed 
in front of the Clerk's table, having before him another 
table on the floor of the hall, on the opposite side of 
which sat the remaining; Judo;es, with their faces towards 
the chair. The doors havincr been closed, and silence 
proclaimed, Mr. Adams arose, and, in a distinct and 
firm tone of voice, read his inaugural address. 

At the conclusion of the address, a general plaudit 
burst forth from the vast assemblage, which continued 
some minutes. Mr. Adams then descended from the 
chair, and, proceeding to the Judges' table, received 
from the Chief Justice a volume of the Laws of the 
United States, from which he read, with a loud voice, 
the oath of office. The plaudits and cheers of the 


multitude were at this juncture repeated, accompanied 
by salutes of artillery from without. 

The congratulations which then poured in from every 
side occupied the hands, and could not but reach the 
heart, of President Adams. The meeting between 
him and his venerated predecessor, had in it something 
peculiarly affecting. General Jackson was among the 
earliest of those who took the hand of the President; 
and their looks and deportment towards each other 
were a rebuke to that littleness of party spirit which 
can see no merit in a rival, and feel no joy in the 
honor of a competitor. 

Shortly ofter 1 o'clock, the procession commenced 
leaving the hall. The President was escorted back as 
he came. On his arrival at his residence, he received 
the compliments and respects of a great number of 
ladies and gentlemen, who called on him to tender 
their congratulations. The proceedings of the day 
were closed by an '* inaugural ball '* in the evening. 
Among the guests present, were the President and 
Vice-President, Ex-President Monroe, a number of 
foreign ministers, with many civil, military, and naval 

Mr. Adams's Inaugural Address is as follows : — 

" In compliance with an usage coeval with the existence of our 
federal constitution, and sanctioned by the example of my prede- 
cessors in the career upon which I am about to enter, I appear, my 

♦ National Intelligencer. 


fellow-citizens, in yonr presence, and in that of heaven, to bind 
myself, by the solemnities of a religious obligation, to the faithful 
performance of the duties allotted to me, in the station to which I 
have been called. 

" Jn unfolding to my countrymen the principles by which I shall 
be governed, in the fulfilment of those duties, my lirst resort will 
be to that constitution which I shall swear, to the best of my abil- 
ity, to preserve, protect, and defend. That revered instrument enu- 
merates the powers and prescribes the duties of the Executive 
Magistrate, and in its first words, declares the purposes to which 
these, and the whole action of the Government instituted by it, 
should be invariably and sacredly devoted — to form a more perfect 
union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the 
common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the bles- 
sings of liberty to tlie people of this Union, in their successive 
generations. Since the adoption of this social compact, one of 
these generations has passed away. It is tlie work of our fore- 
fathers. Administered by some of the most eminent men, who 
contributed to its formation, through a most eventful period in the 
annals of the world, and through all the vicissitudes of peace and 
war, incidental to the condition of associated man, it has not disap- 
pointed tlie hopes and aspirations of those illustrious benefactors of 
their age and nation. It has promoted the lasting welfare of that 
country so dear to us all ; it has, to an extent far beyond the ordi- 
nary lot of humanity, secured the freedom and happiness of this 
people. We now receive it as a precious inheritance from those to 
tvhom we are indebted for its establishment, doubly bound by the 
examples which they have left us, and by the blessings which we 
have enjoyed, as the fruits of tHeir labors, to transmit the same, un- 
impaired, to the succeeding generation. 

" In the compass of thirty-six years, since this great national 
covenant was instituted, a body of laws enacted under its author- 
ity, and in conformity with its provisions, has unfolded its powers, 
and carried into practical operation its effective energies. Sub- 
ordinate departments have distributed the executive functions in 
their various -relations to foreign affairs, to the revenue and ex- 
penditures, and to the military force of the Union, by land and 
sea. A co-ordinate department of the judiciary has expounded 
the constitution and the laws ; settling, in harmonious coincidencQ 


with the legislative will, numerous weighty questions of construction, 
which the imperfection of human language had rendered unavoida- 
ble. The year of jubilee since the first formation of our Union, has 
just elapsed ; that of the Declaration of our Independence is at 
hand. The consummation of both was effected by this constitu- 
tion. Since that period, a population of four millions has multiplied 
to twelve, A territory bounded by the Mississippi has been ex- 
tended from sea to sea. New States have been admitted to the 
Union, in numbers nearly equal to those of the first confederation. 
Treaties of peace, amity, and commerce, have been concluded with 
the principal dominions of the earth. The people of other nations, 
inhabitants of regions acquired, not by conquests, but by compact, 
have been united with us in the participation of our rights and du- 
ties, of our burdens and blessings. The forest has fallen by the 
axe of our woodsmen— the soil has been made to teem by the tillage 
of our farmers ; our commerce has v/hitened every ocean. The 
dominion of man over physical nature has been extended by the 
invention of our artists. Liberty and law have marched hand in 
hand. All the purposes of human association have been accom- 
plished as effectually as under any other Government on the globe, 
and at a cost little exceeding, in a vv'hole generation, the expendi- 
tures of other nations in a single year. 

" Such is the uuexaggerated picture of our condition under & 
constitution founded upon the republican principle of equal rights. 
To admit that this picture has its shades, is but to say, that it is 
still the condition of men upon earth. From evil — ^physical, moral, 
and political — it is not our claim to be exempt We have suffered, 
sometimes by the visitation of Heaven through disease, often by 
the wrongs and injustice of other nations, even to the extremities 
of war ; and lastly, by dissentions among ourselves — dissentions, 
perhaps, inseparable from the enjoyment of freedom, but which have 
more than once appeared to threaten the dissolution of the Union, 
and, with it, the overthrow of all the enjoyments of our present lot, 
and all our earthly hopes of the future. The causes of these dis- 
sensions have been various, founded upon differences of speculation 
In the theory of republican government, upon conflicting views of 
policy in our relations with foreign nations ; upon jealousies of par- 
tial and sectional interests, aggravated by prejudices and preposses- 
sions, wliich strangers to each other are ever apt to entertain. 


" It is a source of gratification and of encouragement to me, to 
observe that the great result of this experiment upon the theory of 
human rights, has, at the close of that generation by which it was 
formed, been crowned with success equal to the most sanguine 
expectations of its founders. Union, justice, tranquillity, the com- 
mon defence, the general welfare, and the blessings- of liberty — 
all have been promoted by the Government under which we have 
lived. Standing at this point of time, looking back to that genera- 
tion which has gone by, and forward to that which is advancing, 
we may at once indulge in grateful exultation and in cheering 
hope. From the experience of the past, we derive instructive les- 
sons for the future. 

" Of the two great political parties which have divided the opinions 
and feelings of our country, the candid and the just will now ad- 
mit, that both have contributed splendid talents, spotless integrity, 
ardent patriotism, and disinterested sacrifices, to the formation and 
administration of the Government, and that both have required a 
liberal indulgence for a portion of human infirmity and error. The 
revolutionary wars of Europe, commencing precisely at the moment 
when the Government of the United States first went into operation 
under the constitution, excited collisions of sentiments and of sym- 
pathies, which kindled all the passions and embittered the conflict 
of parties, till the nation was involved in war, and the Union was 
shaken to its centre. This time of trial embraced a period of five- 
and-twenty years, during which the policy of the Union in its rela- 
tions with Europe constituted the principal basis of our own political 
divisions, and the most arduous part of the action of the Federal 
Goveniment. With the catastrophe in which the wars of the French 
Revolution terminated, and our own subsequent peace with Great 
Britain, this baneful weed of party strife was uprooted. From that 
time no difference of principle, connected with the theory of gov- 
ernment, or with our intercourse with foreign nations, has existed 
or been called forth in force sufficient to sustain a continued com- 
bination of parties, or given more than wholesome animation to pub- 
lic sentiment or legislative debate. Our political creed, without a 
dissenting voice that can be heard, is, that tlie will of the people is 
the source, and the happiness of the people is the end, of all legit- 
imate government upon earth : that the best security for the benefi- 
cence, and the best guaranty against the abuse of power, consista 


.n the freedom, the purity, and the frequency of popular elections : 
that the General Government of the Union, and the separate Gov- 
ernments of the States, are all sovereignties of legitimate powers, 
fellow-servants of the same masters — uncontrolled within their re- 
spective spheres, uncontrollable by encroachments on each other. 
If there have been those who doubted whether a confederated repre- 
sentative democracy was a Government competent to the wise and 
orderly management of the common concerns of a mighty nation, 
those doubts have been dispelled. If there have been projects of 
partial confederacies to be erected upon the ruins of the Union, they 
have been scattered to the winds. If there have been dangerous 
attachments to one foreign nation, and antipathies against another, 
they have been extinguished. Ten years of peace at home and 
abroad have assuaged the animosities of political contention, and 
blended into harmony the most discordant elements of public opinion. 
There still remains one effort of magnanimity, one sacrifice of 
prejudice and passion, to be made by the individuals throughout the 
nation who have heretofore followed the standards of political party. 
It is that of discarding every remnant of rancor against each other, 
of embracing, as countrymen and friends, and of yielding to talents 
and virtue alone that confidence which, in times of contention for 
principle, was bestowed only upon those who bore the badge of 
party communion. 

" The collisions of party spirit, which originate in speculative 
opinions, or in different views of administrative policy, are in their 
nature transitory. Those which are founded on geographical divis- 
ions, adverse interests of soil, climate, and modes of domestic life, 
are more permanent, and therefore, perhaps, more dangerous. It is 
this which gives inestimable value to the character of our Govern- 
ment, at once federal and national. It holds out to us a perpetual 
admonition to preserve, alike, and with equal anxiety, the rights of 
each individual State in its own Government, and the rights of the 
whole nation in that of the Union. Whatever is of domestic con- 
cernment, unconnected with the other members of the Union, or 
with foreign lands, belongs exclusively to the administration of 
the State Governments. Whatsoever directly involves the rights and 
interests of the federative fraternity, or of foreign powers, is, of 
the resort of this General Government. The duties of both are ob- 
vious in the general principle, though sometimes perplexed with 


difficulties in the detail. To respect the rights of the State Govern- 
ments is the inviolable duty of that of the Union : the Government 
of every State will feel its own obligation to respect and preserve 
the rights of the whole. The prejudices everywhere too commonly 
entertained against distant strangers are worn away, and the jeal- 
ousies of jarring interests are allayed, by the composition and func- 
tions of the great national councils, annually assembled, from all 
quarters of- the Union, at this place. Here the distinguished men 
from every section of our country, while meeting-to deliberate upon 
the great interests of those by whom they arc deputed, learn to esti- 
mate the talents, and do justice to the virtues, of each other. The 
harmony of the nation is promoted, and the whole Union is knit 
together by the sentiments of mutual respect, the habits of social 
intercourse, and the ties of personal friendship, formed between the 
representatives of its several parts in the performance of their ser- 
vice at this metropolis. 

" Passing from this general review of the purposes and injunc- 
tions of the Federal constitution and their results, as indicating 
the first traces of the path of duty in the discharge of my public 
trust, I turn to the administration of my immediate predecessor, as 
the second. It has passed away in a period of profound peace : 
how much to the satisfaction of our country, and to the honor of 
our country's name, is known to you all. The great features of its 
policy, in general concurrence with the will of the Legislature, 
have been — To cherish peace while preparing for defensive war- 
to yield exact justice to other nations, and maintain the rights of 
our own — to cherish the principles of freedom and equal rights, 
wherever they were proclaimed — to discharge, with all possible 
promptitude, the national debt — to reduce within the narrowest lim- 
its of efficiency the military force — to improve the organization 
and discipline of the army — to provide and sustain a school of mili- 
tary science — to extend equal protection to all the great interests of 
the nation — to promote the civilization of the Indian tribes ; and — • 
to proceed to the great system of internal improvements, within the 
limits of the constitutional power of the Union. Under the pledge 
of these promises, made by that eminent citizen at the time of his 
first induction to this office, in his career of eight years the internal 
taxes have been repealed ; sixty millions of the public debt have 
been discharged ; provision has been made for the comfort and 


relief of the ajred and indiGfent amoiiof the survivinof warriors of 
the Revolution ; the regular armed force has been reduced, and its 
constitution revised and perfected ; the accountability for the expend- 
itures of public monies has been more effective ; the Floridas have 
been peaceably acquired, and our boundary has been extended to 
the Pacitic Ocean ; the independence of the southern nations of this 
hemisphere has been recognized, and recommended by example and 
by counsel to the potentates of Europe ; progress has been made 
in the defence of the country, by fortifications, and the increase of 
the navy — towards the effectual suppression of the African traffic in 
slaves — in alluring the aboriginal hunters of our land to the culti- 
vation of the soil and of the mind — in exploring the interior regions 
of the Union, and in preparing, by scientific researches and surveys, 
for the further application of our national resources to the internal 
improvement of our country. 

" In this brief outline of the promise and performance of my im- 
mediate predecessor, the lino of duty, for his successor, is clearly 
delineated. To pursue to their consummation those purposes of 
improvement in our common condition instituted or recom.mended 
by him, will embrace the whole sphere of my obligation. To the 
topic of internal improvement, emphatically urged by him at his in- 
auguration, -I recur with peculiar satisfaction. It is that from 
which I am convinced that the unborn millions of our posterity, who 
are in future ages to people this continent, will derive their most 
fervent gratitude to the founders of the Union — that in which the 
beneficent action of its Government will be most deeply felt and ac- 
knowledged. The magnificence and splendor of their public works 
are among- the imperishable glories of the ancient republics. The 
roads and aqueducts of Rome have been the admiration of all after 
ages, and have survived thousands of years after all her conquests 
have been swallowed up in despotism, or become the spoil of bar- 
barians. Some diversity of opinion has prevailed with regard to 
the pov>rers of Congress for legislation upon objects of this nature. 
The most respectful deference is due to doubts, originating in pure 
patriotism, and sustained by venerated authority. But nearly twenty 
years have passed since the construction of the first national road 
was commenced. The authority for its construction was then un- 
questioned. To how many thousands of our countrymen has it 
proved a benefit ? To what single individual has it ever proved an 


injury ? Repeated, liberal and candid discussions in tlie Legislature 
have conciliated the sentiments, and approximated the opinions of 
enlightened minds, upon the question of constitutional power. I 
cannot but hope that, by the same process of friendly, patient, and 
persevering deliberation, all constitutional objections will ultimately 
be removed. The extent and limitation of the powers of the Gen- 
eral Government, in relation to this transcendcntly important interest, 
will be settled and acknowledged to the common satisfaction of all ; 
and every speculative scruple will be solved by a practical public 

" Fellow-citizens, you are acquainted with tjie peculiar circum- 
stances of the recent election, which have resulted in afibrdinfr me 
the opportunity of addressing you at this time. You have heard 
the exposition of the principles wliich will direct me in the fulfil- 
ment of the high and solemn trust imposed upon mc in this station. 
Less possessed of your confidence, in advance, than any of my pre- 
decessors, I am deeply conscious of the prospect that I shall stand 
more and oftcner in need of your indulgence. Intentions upright 
and pure, a heart devoted to the welfare of our country, and the 
unceasing application of the faculties allotted to me to her service, 
are all the pledges that I can give for the faithful performance of 
the arduous duties I am to undertake. To the guidance of the 
legislative councils ; to the assistance of the executive and subor- 
dinate departments ; to the friendly co-operation of the respective 
State Governments ; to the candid and liberal support of the people, 
so far as it may be deserved by honest industry and zeal ; I shall 
look for whatever success may attend my public service : and 
knowing that ' except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh 
but in vain,' with fervent supplications for His favor, to His over- 
ruling providence I commit, with humble but fearless confidence, 
my own fate, and the future destinies of my country." 

In entering upon the discharge of his duties as Pres- 
ident, Mr. Adams proceeded to form his cabinet by 
nominating Henry Clay, of Kentucky, Secretary of 
State ; Richard Rush, of Pennsylvania, Secretary of 
the Treasury ; James Barbour, of Virginia, Secretary 


of War ; Samuel L. Southard, Secretary of the Navy, 
and Wm. Wirt, Attorney General. These were all 
men of superior talents, of tried integrity and faithful- 
ness, and well worthy the elevated positions to which 
they were called. 






The election of Mr. Adams to the presidency, was 
a severe disappointment to the friends of Gen. Jack- 
son. As the latter had received a majority of fifteen 
electoral votes over Mr. Adams, it was confidently an- 
ticipated, nay, virtually demanded, that he should be 
elected by the House of Representatives. This claim, 
it was insisted, was in accordance with the will of the 
people, as expressed in the. electoral colleges, and to 
resist it w^ould be to violate the spirit of the constitu- 
tion, and to set at nought the fundamental principles of 
our republican Government. A sufficient reply to 
these positions is found in the fact, that Gen. Jackson 
did not receive a majority of the electoral votes, and 
hence a majority of the people could not be considered 
as desiring his election. The absolute truth, subse- 
quently obtained on this point, was, that Mr. Adams 
had received more of the primary votes of the people 
than Gen. Jackson ; and thus, according to all repub- 


lican principles, was entitled to be considered the first 
choice of the citizens of the United States. 

The position of Mr. Clay, in this contest for the 
presidency, was one of great delicacy and difficulty. 
He was precisely in that critical posture, that, whatever 
course he might pursue, he would be subject to mis- 
representation and censure, and could not but raise up 
a host of enemies. Originally one of the four candidates 
for the presidency, he failed, by five electoral votes, in 
having a sufficient number to be one of the three can- 
didates returned to the House of Representatives, of 
which he was then Speaker. In this posture of affairs, 
it was evident that upon the course which should be 
pursued by Mr. Clay, and his friends in the House, de- 
pended the question who should be elected President. 
As Mr. Crawford, on account of the critical state of his 
health, was considered out of the question, Mr. Clay 
was left to choose between Mr, Adams and Gen. 

In this posture of affairs, Mr. Clay saw, that however 
patriotic the principles on which he acted, and however 
pure the motives by which he might be governed in 
making his selection, he must inevitably expose him- 
self to the severest animadversions from the defeated 
party. But he did not hesitate, in the discharge of what 
he believed to be a solemn duty he owed his country, 
to throw his influence in behalf of the man whom he 
believed the best fitted to serve that country in the 
responsible office of the presidency. Long before it 


had been foreseen such a contingency would occur, he 
had expressed his want of confidence in the abiUty and 
fitness of Gen. Jackson for the executive chair. But 
in Mr. Adams he saw a man of the utmost purity and 
integrity of private character — a scholar of the ripest 
abilities — a statesman, a diplomatist, a patriot of un- 
questioned talents and of long experience, — one who 
had been entrusted with most important public interests 
by Washington, Adams, JeflTerson, Madison and Mon- 
roe, and also had received from these illustrious men 
every mark of confidence — whose familiarity with the 
internal condition and foreign relations of the Union 
was unequalled by any public man ! Between men so 
dissimilar in their qualifications, how could Mr. Clay, 
with the slisihtest re2;ard to the welfare of the nation, 
the claims of patriotism, or the dictates of his con- 
science, hesitate to choose ? He did not hesitate. 
With an intrepid determination to meet all conse- 
quences, he threw his influence in behalf of Mr. 
Adams, and secured his election. 

This decisive step, as had been clearly foreseen, drew 
upon the head of Mr. Clay the severest censures of the 
supporters of Gen. Jackson. Motives of the deepest 
political corruption were attributed to him. They 
charged him with making a deliberate stipulation or 
"bargain" with Mr. Adams, to give his influence, on 
the understanding that he was to receive, in payment, 
the appointment to the state department. The un- 
doubted object of this charge was to ruin Mr. Clay's 


future prospects, and make capital to the advantage of 
Gen. Jackson in tiie next presidential campaign. It 
implicated Mr. Adams equally with Mr. Clay. If the 
latter had been so corrupt as to offer his support on the 
promise of office, the former was quite as guilty in ac- 
cepting of terms so venal. There never was a more 
base charge against American statesmen — there never 
was one more entirely destitute of foundation, or even 
shadow of proof! It was at no time considered en- 
titled to the slightest particle of belief by those who 
were at Washington during these transactions and 
had an opportunity of knowing the true state of things 
at that time. But there were many, throughout the 
country, too ready to receive such reports in regard to 
public men. Both Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay were 
greatly prejudiced by this alleged collusion — a preju- 
dice which years did not efface. 

This charge first appeared in a tangible form shortly 
previous to the election by the House of Representa- 
tives, in an anonymous letter in the " Columbian Ob- 
server," at Philadelphia. It was soon ascertained to ' 
have been written by Mr. Kremer, a member of the 
House of Representatives from Pennsylvania. Mr. 
Clay immediately published a card in the National 
Intelligencer, denying, in unequivocal terms, the alle- 
gation, and pronouncing the author "an infamous 
calumniator, a dastard, and a liar !" 

A few days after this, Mr. Kremer acknowledged 

himself the author of the letter in the "Columbian 




Observer,'' and professed himself ready to prove the 
corruptions alleged : whereupon Mr. Clay demanded 
that the House raise a comaiittee to investigate the 
case. The committee was appointed ; but Mr. Kre- 
mer, on grounds of the most frivolous description, 
refused to appear before the committee, or to furnish a 
particle of proof of the truth of the grave assertions he 
had uttered — thus virtually acknowledging their slan- 
derous character. 

Mr. Clay being in this manner denied the privilege 
of vindicating his innocence, and showing the depravity 
of his accusers, the matter continued in an unsettled 
state until the next presidential campaign, when it 
was revived in a more tangible form, and brought to 
bear adversely to Mr. Adams's administration and re- 
election. In 1827, Gen. Jackson, in a letter to Mr. 
Carter Beverly, which soon appeared in public print, 
made the following statement : — 

" Early in January, 1825, a member of Confess of high respect- 
ability visited me one morning, and observed that he had a com- 
munication he was desirous to make to me; that he was informed 
there was a great intrigue going on, and that it was right I should 
be informed of it. ******* He said lie had been informed by 
the friends of Mr. Clay, that the friends of Mr. Adams had made 
overtures to them, saying, if Mr. Clay and his friends would unite in 
aid of Mr. Adams's election, Mr. Clay should be Secretary of State ; 
that the friends of Mr. Adams were urging, as a reason to induce 
the friends of Mr. Clay to accede to their proposition, that if I were 
elected President, Mr. Adams would be continued Secretary of 
State ; that the friends of Mr. Clay stated the West did not wish to 
separate from the West, and if I would say, or permit any of my 
confidential friends to say, that in case I wero elected President 


Mr. Adams should not be continued Secretary of State, by a com- 
plete union of JMr. Clay and his friends, they would put an end to 
the presidential contest in one hour. And he was of opinion it was 
right to fight suc|;i intriguers with their own weapons." 

On a subsequent statement. Gen. Jackson asserted 
that the gentleman who called upon him with these 
propositions was James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania. 

This was the Kremer charge made definite in cir- 
cumstances and application ; and if well grounded, 
was susceptible of plain proof. On the appearance of 
this statement by Gen. Jackson, Mr. Clay came out 
with a positive denial. He said : — 

" I neither made, nor authorized, nor knew of any proposition 
whatever, to either of the three candidates who were returned to 
the House of Representatives, at the last presidential election, or to 
the friends of either of them, for the purpose of influencing the re- 
mit of the election, or for any other purpose. And all allegations, 
intimations, and inuendoes, that my vote on that occasion was 
offered to be given, or was in fact given, in consideration of any 
stipulation or understanding, express or implied, direct or indirect, 
written or verbal, — that I was, or that any other person was not, to 
be appointed Secretary of State ; or that I was, or in any other 
manner to be, personally benefitted, — are devoid of all truth, and 
destitute of any foundation whatever." 

Here was a direct collision between Gen. Jackson 
and Mr. Clay. All now rested with Mr. Buchanan. 
His testimony would either prostrate Mr. Clay, or 
place litm, in regard to this matter, beyond the reach 
of the foulest tongue of calumny. In due time Mr. 
Buchanan made his statement, in which he denied, in 


unequivocal language, having made any such propo- 
sition to Gen. Jackson. In his explanation he says : — 

" I called upon General Jackson solely as his friend, upon my in- 
dividual responsibility, and not as the agent of Mr. Clay, or any other 
person. I never have been the political friend of Mr. Clay, since 
he became a candidate for the office of President. Until I saw 
General Jackson's letter to Mr. Beverly, of the 6th ult., and at the 
same time was informed, by a letter from the editor of the United 
States Telegraph, that I was the person to whom he alluded, the 
conception never once entered my head, that he believed me to be 
the agent of Mr. Clay, or of his friends, or that I had intended to 
propose to him terms of any kind from them, or that he could have 
supposed me to be capable of e.xpressing the ojnnion that * it was 
right to fight such intriguers with their own weapons.' Such a 
supposition, had I entertained it, would have rendered me exceed- 
ingly unhappy, as there is no man on earth whose good opinion I 
more valued than that of General Jackson. ********* I owe 
it to my character to make another observation. Had I ever known, 
or even suspected, that General Jackson believed I had been sent to 
him by Mr. Clay or his friends, I should immediately have corrected 
his erroneous impression, and thus prevented the necessity for this 
most unpleasant explanation. ******* I had no authority from 
Mr. Clay, or his friends, to propose any terms to General Jackson in 
relation to their votes, nor did I ever make any such proposition." 

This statement fully and triumphantly exonerated 
Mr. Clay, Mr. Adams, and their friends, from the 
charge of '* bargain" and " corruption," which had 
been so boldly made and widely disseminated. The 
only witness ever brought upon the stand to sup- 
port such an allegation, asserted, in a manner the 
most positive and decisive, the entire innocence of the 
parties implicated. 

That Mr. Clay, in throwing his influence in behalf 


of Mr. Adams, was but following out a resolution 
formed long before he had any opportunity of commu- 
nication with Mr. Adams or his friends, on the sub- 
ject, is proved by the following extract of a letter from 
a gentleman in Lexington, Ky., to the editors of the 
National Intelligencer, dated March 21, 1825 : — 

" At different times, before Mr. Clay left this place for Washing- 
ton, last fall, I had conversations with him on the subject of the 
choice of a President by the House of Representatives. In all of 
them, he expressed himself as having long before decided in favor 
of Mr. Adams, in case the contest should lie between that gentle- 
man and General Jackson. My last interview with him was, I 
think, the day before his departure, when he was still more explicit, 
as it was then certain that the election would be transferred to that 
tribunal, and highly probable that he would not be among the num- 
ber returned. In the course of this conversation, I took occasion 
to express my sentiments with respect to the delicate and difficult 
circumstances under which he would be placed. He remarked 
that I could not more fully apprehend them than he did himself ; 
but that nothing should deter him from the duty of giving his vote ; 
and that no state of things could arise that would justify him in 
preferring General Jackson to Mr. Adams, or induce him to support 
the former. So decisive, indeed, were his declarations on this sub- 
ject, that had he voted otherwise than he did, I should have been 
compelled to regard him as deserving that species of censure which 
has been cast upon him for constantly adhering to an early and 
deliberate resolution." 

It was thought, by some of Mr. Clay's friends, that 
he erred in judgment in accepting the office of Secre- 
tary of State, as it would tend to strengthen his ene- 
mies in their efforts to fix upon him the charge of 
corruption. Among those entertaining this opinion 
was Mr. Crawford, himself one of the three presiden- 


tial candidates returned to the House of Representa- 
tives. In a letter to Mr. Clay he says : — 

" I hope you know me too well to suppose that I have counte- 
nanced the charge of corruption which has been reiterated against 
you. The truth is, I approved of your vote when it was given, and 
should have voted as you did between Jackson and Adams. But 
candor compells me to say, that I disapproved of your accepting an 
office under him." 

In replying to this letter iMr. Clay remarked : — 

" I do, my dear sir, know you too well to suppose that you ever 
countenanced the charge of corruption against me. No man of 
sense and candor — at least none that know me— ever could or did 
countenance it. Your frank admission that you would have voted 
as I did, between Mr. Adams and Gen. Jackson, accords with the 
estimate I have ever made of your intelligence, your independence, 
and your patriotism. Nor am I at all surprised, or dissatisfied, with 
the expression of your opinion, that I erred in accepting the place 
which I now hold. ******* The truth is, as I have often said, 
my condition was one full of embarrassments, whatever way I 
might act. My own judgment was rather opposed to my accept- 
ance of the department of state. But my friends — and let me 
add, two of your best friends, Mr. Mcljane of Delaware and Mr. 
Forsyth — urged me strongly not to decline it. It was represented 
by my friends, that I should get no credit for the forbearance, but 
that, on tiie contrary, it would be said that my forbearance was evi- 
dence of my having made a bargain, though unwilling to execute 
jj_ ****%*** These and other similar arguments wore pressed 
upon me ; and after a week's deliberation, I yielded to their force. 
It is quite possible that I may have erred ****** I shall, at least, 
have no cause of self-reproach." 

In 1829, after Mr. Adams had retired from the Presi- 
dential chair, in reply to a letter from a committee of 
gentlemen in New Jersey, who had addressei him, he 


spoke of Mr. Clay as follows : ** Upon him the foulest 
slanders have been showered. Long known and ap- 
preciated, as successively a member of both Houses of 
your national Legislature, as the unrivalled Speaker, 
and at the same time most efficient leader of debates in 
one of them ; as an able and successful negotiator of your 
interests, in war and peace, with foreign powers, and 
as a powerful candidate for the highest of your trusts, 
the department of state itself was a station which by 
its bestow^al could confer neither profit nor honor upon 
him, but upon which he has shed unfading honor, by 
the manner in which he has discharged its duties. 
Prejudice and passion have charged him with obtain- 
ing that office by bargain and corruption. Before you, 
my fellow-citizens, in the presence of our country and 
heaven, I pronounce that charge totally unfounded. 
This tribute of justice is due from me to him, and I 
seize with pleasure the opportunity afforded me by 
your letter, of discharging the obligation. As to my 
motives for tendering to him the department of state 
when I did, let that man who questions them come for- 
ward ; let him look around amoncy statesmen and Wis- 
lators, of this nation, and of that day ; let him then 
select and name the man whom, by his pre-eminent 
talents, by his splendid services, by his ardent patriotism, 
by his all-embracing public spirit, by his fervid elo- 
quence in behalf of the rights and liberties of mankind, 
and by his long experience in the affairs of the Union, 
foreign and domestic, a President of the United States, 


intent only upon the welfare and honor of his country, 
ought to have preferred to Henry Clay. Let him 
name the man, and then judge you, my fellow-citizens, 
of my motives." 

When Mr. Adams was on a tour in the western 
States, in the fall of 1843, in addressing the chairman 
of the committee of his reception, at Maysville, Ken- 
tucky, he said : " I thank you, sir, for the opportunity 
you have given me of speaking of the great statesman 
who was associated with me in the administration of 
the General Government, at my earnest solicitation ; 
who belongs not to Kentucky alone, but to the whole 
Union ; and who is not only an honor to this State, and 
this nation, but to mankind. The charges to which 
you refer, after my term of service had expired, and it 
was proper for me to speak, I denied before the whole 
country. And I here reiterate and re-affirm that de- 
nial ; and as I expect shortly to appear before my God, 
to answer for the conduct of my whole life, should 
these charges have found their way to the throne of 
eternal justice, I will in the presence of Omnipotence 
pronounce them false.'* 

Before the world Mr. Clay and Mr. Adams stand 
acquitted of the calumny which their enemies en- 
deavored, with an industry worthy a better cause, 
to heap upon them. The history of their country will 
do them ample justice. Their names shall stand upon 
its pages, illuminated by a well-earned fame for pa- 
triotism and faithful devotion to public interest!. 


when those of their accusers will be lost in a merited 

Mr. Adams, having entered upon his duties as Presi- 
dent of the United States, prosecuted them with all 
that diligence and industrious application which was 
one of the leading characteristics of his life. Unawed 
by the opposition and the misrepresentations of his po- 
litical enemies, and uncorrupted by the power and in- 
fluence at his control, he pursued the even tenor of his 
way, having a single object in view, the promotion of 
the welfare of the people over whom he had been called 
to preside. 

In the meantime, the heart of the nation was being 
stirred by old and valued reminiscences. La Fayette, 
— a hero of the revolution — the companion of Wash- 
ington — whose blood had enriched American soil in 
defence of American, freedom — had expressed a wish to 
re-visit once more, before departing life, the scenes of 
his early struggles and well-earned glories. This inti- 
mation was first given in the following letter to Col. 
Willet, an old friend and fellow-soldier of La Favette, 
who was then still living in New- York. 

" Paris, July 15, 1822. 
" My Dear Sir : — I avail myself of a good opportunity to re- 
mind you of your old friend and fellow-soldier, in whose heart no 
time nor distance can abate the patriotic remembrance and personal 
affections of our revolutionary times. We remain but too few sur- 
vivors of that glorious epoch, in which the fate of two hemispheres 



has been decided. It is an additional monitor to tliink more of the 
ties of brotherly friendship which united us. May it be in my 
power, before I join our departed companions, to visit such of them 
as are still inhabitants of the United States, and to tell you person- 
ally, my dear Willet, how affectionately 

" I am your sincere friend, La Fayette." 

Intelligence of this desire to visit America having 
reached Congress, resolutions were passed placing a 
Government ship at his disposal : — 

" Whereas that distinguished champion of freedom, and hero of 
our Revolution, the friend and associate of Washington, the Marquis 
de La Fayette, a volunteer General Officer in our Revolutionary 
War, has expressed an anxious desire to visit this country, the inde- 
pendence of which his valor, blood, and treasure, were so instru- 
mental in achievinof : Therefore — 

" Be it Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the 
President of the United States be requested to communicate to the 
Marquis de La Fayette the expression of those sentiments of pro- 
found respect, gratitude, and affectionate attachment, which are 
cherished towards him by the Government and people of this coun- 
try ; and to assure him that the execution of his wish and intention 
to visit this country, will be hailed by the people and Government 
with patriotic pride and joy. 

" And be it further Resolved, That tlie President of the United 
States be requested to ascertain from the Marquis de La Fayette, 
the time when it will be most agreeable for him to perform his visit; 
and that he offer to the Marquis a conveyance to this country in 
one of our national ships." 

La Fayette modestly declined this offer of a public 
ship. He sailed from Havre in the packet- ship Cad- 
mus, accompanied by his son, George Washington 
La Fayette, and arrived in New York on the 15th of 
August, 1824. 


His reception at New York was sublime and brilliant 
in the extreme. The meeting between La Fayette, 
Col. Willet, Gen. Van Cortland, Gen. Clarkson, and 
other revolutionary worthies, was highly affecting. 
He knew them all. After the ceremony of embracing 
and congratulations were over, La Fayette sat down 
by the side of Col. Willet. " Do you remember," said 
the colonel, " at the battle of Monmouth, I was a volun- 
teer aid to Gen. Scott? I saw you in the heat of bat- 
tle, you were but a boy, but you were a serious and 
sedate lad." " Aye, aye," returned La Fayette, " I re- 
member well. And on the Mohawk I sent you fifty 
Indians, and you wrote me that they set up such a yell 
that they frightened the British horse, and they ran one 
way, and the Indians another." Thus these veteran 
soldiers " fought their battles o'er again." 

From New York La Fayette proceeded on a tour 
throughout the United States. Everywhere he was 
received and honored, as " the nation's guest." For 
more than a year, his journey was a complete ovation 
— a perpetual and splendid pageant. The people ap- 
peared delirious with joy and with anxiety to hail him, 
grasp him by the hand, and shower attentions and 
honors upon him. The gratitude and love of all per- 
sons, of every age, sex, and condition, seemed hardly to 
be restrained within bounds of propriety. As he passed 
through the country, every city, village, and hamlet, 
poured out its inhabitants en massey to meet him. 
Celebrations, processions, dinners, illuminations, bon- 


fires, parties, balls, serenades, and rejoicings of every 
description, attended his way, from the moment he set 
foot on the American soil, until his embarkation to 
return to his native France. 

The hearts of the people in the most distant parts 
of the Western Hemisphere were warmed and touched 
with the honors paid him in the United States. A 
letter written at that time from Buenos Ayres, says — 
**I have just received newspapers from the United 
States, informing me of the magnificent reception of 
Gen. La Fayette. I have never read newspapers with 
such exquisite delight as these ; and I firmly believe 
there never was so interestino: and crlorious an event in 
the civilized world, in which all classes of people parti- 
cipated in the general joy, as on this occasion. There 
is an association of ideas connected with this event, 
that produces in my soul emotions I cannot express, 
and fills my heart with such grateful recollections as I 
cannot forget but with my existence. That ten mil- 
lions of souls, actuated by pure sentiments of gratitude 
and friendship, should with one voice pronounce this 
individual the ' Guest of the Nation,' and pay him the 
highest honors the citizens of a free nation can offer, 
is an event which must excite the astonishment of 
Europe, and show the inestimable value of liberty." 

In June, 1825, La Fayette visited Boston, and on 
the 17th day of that month, it being the anniversary 
of the battle of Bunker Hill, he participated in the cer- 
emony of laying the corner stone of the monument in 


commemoration of that event, on Bunker Hill. During 
his tour at the east, he visited the venerable ex- Presi- 
dent John Adams, at Quincy. 

But the time for his departure drew near. His jour- 
ney had extended as far south as New Orleans, west 
to St. Louis, north and east to Massachusetts. He 
had passed through, or touched, New York, New 
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, 
North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisi- 
ana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illi- 
nois, Indiana, Ohio, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and 

A new frigate, the Brandy wine, named in honor of 
the gallant exploits of Gen. La Fayette at the battle of 
Brandywine, was provided by Congress to convey him 
to France. It was deemed appropriate that he should 
take final leave of the nation at the seat of government 
m Washington. President Adams invited him to 
pass a few weeks in the presidential mansion. Mr. 
Adams had been on intimate terms with La Fayette in 
his youth, with whom, it is said, he was a marked fa- 
vorite. During his sojourn at the capitol, he visited 
ex-Presidents Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, at their 
several places of residence. 

Having paid his respects to these venerated sages, 
" the Nation's Guest" prepared to take his final depart- 
ure from the midst of a grateful people. The 7th of 
September, 1825, was the day appointed for taking 
leave. About 12 o'clock, the officers of the General 


Government, civil, military, and naval, together with 
the authorities of Washington, Georgetown, and Alex- 
andria, with multitudes of citizens and strangers, 
assembled in the President's house. La Favette en- 
tered the great hall in silence, leaning on the Marshal 
of the District, and one of the sons of the President. 
Mr. Adams then with evident emotion, but with much 
dignity and firmness, addressed him in, the following 
terms : — 

" General La Fayette : It has been the good fortune of many 
of my fellow-citizens, during the course of the year now elapsed, 
upon your arrival at their respective places of abode to greet you 
with the welcome of the nation. The less pleasing task now de- 
volves upon me, of bidding you, in the name of the nation. Adieu ! 

" It were no longer seasonable, and would be superfluous, to re- 
capitulate the remarkable incidents of j^our early life — incidents 
which associated your name, fortunes, and reputation, in imperish- 
able connection with the independence and history of the North 
American Union. 

" The part which you performed at that important juncture was 
marked with characters so peculiar, that, realizing the fairest fable of 
antiquity, its parallel could scarcely be found in the authentic records 
of human history. 

" You deliberately and perse veringly preferred toil, danger, the 
endurance of every hardship, and privation of every comfort, in de- 
fence of a holy cause, to inglorious ease, and the allurements of 
rank, affluence, and unrestrained youth, at the most splendid and 
fascinating court of Europe. 

" That this choice was not less wise than ma<xnanimous,the sane- 
tion of half a century, and the gratulations of unnumbered voices, 
all unable to express the gratitude of the heart, with which your 
visit to this hemisphere has been welcomed, afford ample demon- 

" When the contest of freedom, to which you had repaired as a 
voluntary champion, had closed, by the complete triumph of her 


cause in this country of your adoption, you returned to fulfil the 
duties of the philanthropist and patriot, in the land of your nativity. 
There, in a consistent and undeviating career of forty years, you 
have maintained, through every vicissitude of alternate success and 
disappointment, the same glorious cause to which the first years of 
your active life had been devoted, the improvement of the moral and 
political condition of man. 

" Throughout that long succession of time, the people of the 
United States, for whom and with whom you have fought the bat- 
tles of liberty, have been living in the full possession of its fruits ; 
one of the happiest among the family of nations. Spreading in 
population ; enlarging in territory ; acting and suflfering according 
to the condition of their nature ; and laying the foundations of the 
greatest, and, we humbly hope, the most beneficient power, that ever 
regulated the concerns of man upon earth. 

" In that lapse of forty years, the generation of men with whom 
you co-operated in the conflict of arms, has nearly passed away. 
Of the general oflicers of the American army in that war, you alone 
survive. Of the sages who guided our councils ; of the warriors 
who met the foe in the field, or upon the wave, with the exception 
of a few to whom unusual length of days has been alloted by Hea- 
ven, all now sleep with their fathers. A succeeding, and even a 
third generation, have arisen to take their places ; and their chil- 
dren's children, while rising up to call them blessed, have been 
taught by them, as well as admonished by their own constant enjoy- 
ment of freedom, to include in every benison upon their fathers, the 
name of him, who came from afar, with them and in their cause to 
conquer or to fall. 

" The universal prevalence of these sentiments was signally man- 
ifested by a resolution of Congress, representing the whole people, 
and all the States of this Union, requesting the President of the 
United States to communicate to you the assurances of the grateful 
and affectionate attachment of this government and people, and de- 
siring that a national ship might be employed, at your convenience, 
for your passage to the borders of our country. 

" The invitation was transmitted to you by my venerable prede- 
cessor, himself bound to you by the strongest ties of personal friend- 
ship ; himself one of those whom the highest honors of his country had 
rewarded for blood early shed in her cause, and for a long life of 


devotion to her welfare. By him the services of a national ship 
were placed at your disposal. Ybur delicacy preferred a more pri- 
vate conveyance, and a full year has elapsed since you landed upon 
our shores. It were scarcely an exaggeration to say that it has 
been to the people of the Union a year of uninterrupted festivity 
and enjoyment, inspired by your presence. You have traversed the 
twenty-four States of this great coni'ederacy — yon have been re- 
ceived with rapture by the survivors of your earliest companions in 
arms — ^}'ou have been hailed, as a long-absent parent, by their chil- 
dren, the men and women of the present age ; and a rising genera- 
tion, the hope of future time, in numbers surpassing the whole popu- 
lation of that day when you fought at the head and by the side of 
their forefathers, have vied with the scanty remnants of that hour 
of trial, in acclamations of joy, at beholding the face of him whom 
they feel to be the common benefactor of all. You have heard the 
mingled voices of the past, the present, and the future age, joining 
in one universal chorus of delight at your approach ; and the shouts 
of unbidden thousands, wliich greeted your landing on the soil of 
freedom, have followed every step of your way, and still resound 
like the rushing of many waters, from every corner of our land. 

" You are now alwut to return to the country of your birth— of 
your ancestors — of your jK)sterity. The executive Government of 
the Union, stimulated by the same feeling which had prompted the 
Congress to the designation of a national ship for your accommoda- 
tion in coming hither, has destined the first service of a frigate, re- 
cently launched at this metropolis, to the less welcome, but equally 
distinguished trust, of cfonvcying you home. The name of the ship 
has added one more memorial to distant regions and to future ages, 
of a stream already memorable at once in the story of your suffer- 
ings and of our independence. 

" The ship is now prepared for your reception, and equipped for 
sea. From the moment of her departure, the prayers of millions 
will ascend to heaven, that her passage may be prosperous, and 
your return to the bosom of your family as propitious to your hap- 
piness as your visit to this scene of your youthful glory has been 
to that of the American people. 

" Go then, our beloved friend : return to the land of brilliant ge- 
nius, of generous sentiments, of heroic valor; to that beautiful 
France, the nursing mother of the twelfth Louis, and the fourth 


Henry ; to the native soil of Bayard and Coligne, of Turenne and 
Catinat, of Fenelon and D'Aguesseau ! In that illustrious catalogue 
of names, which she claims as of her children, and with honest pride 
holds up to the admiration of other nations, the name of La Fayette 
has already for centuries been enrolled. And it shall henceforth 
burnish into brighter fame : for, if in after days, a Frenchman sliall 
be called to indicate the character of his nation by that of one indi- 
vidual, during the age in which we live, the blood of lofty patriotism 
shall mantle in his cheek, the fire of conscious virtue shall sparkle 
in his eye, and he shall pronounce the name of La Fayette. Yet 
we, too, and our children in life, and after death, shall claim you 
for our own. You are ours, by that more than patriotic self-devo- 
tion with which you flew to the aid of our fathers at the crisis of 
their fate : ours by that long series of years in which you have 
cherished us in your regard : ours by that unshaken sentiment of 
gratitude for your services, which is a precious portion of our in- 
heritance : ours by that tie of love, stronger then death, which has 
linked your name, for the endless ages of time, with the name of 

"At the painful moment of parting from you, we take comfort in 
the thought, that wherever you may be, to the last pulsation of your 
heart, our country will ever be present to your affections ; and a 
cheering consolation assures us that we are not called to son-ow, 
most of all, that we shall see your face no more. We shall in 
dulge the pleasing anticipation of beholding our friend again. In 
the mean time, speaking in the name of the whole people of the 
United States, and at a loss only for language to give utterance to 
that feeling of attachment with which the heart of the nation 
beats, as beats the heart of one man — I bid you a reluctant and 
affectionate farewell ! ! 

At the conclusion of this address, Gen. La Fayette 
replied as follows : — 

" Amidst all my obligations to the General Government, and par- 
ticularly to you, sir, its respected Chief Magistrate, I have most 
thankfully to acknowledge the opportunity given me, at this solemn 
and painful moment, to present the people of the United States 

with a parting tribute of profound, inexpressible gratitude. 
H^^ 12 


" To have been in the infant and critical days of these States 
adopted by them as a favorite son; to have participated in the 
trials and perils of our unspotted struggle for independence, free- 
dom, and equal rights, and in the foundation of the American era 
of a new social order, which has already pervaded this, and must, 
for the dignity and happiness of mankind, successively pervade 
every part of the other hemisphere ; to have received, at every stage 
of the revolution, and during forty years after tliat period, from the 
people of the United States and their Representatives at homo and 
abroad, continual marks of their confidence and kindness, — has 
been the pride, the encouragement, tlic support of a long and event- 
ful life. 

" But how could I find words to acknowledge that series of wcl- 
comes, those unbounded and universal displays of public affection, 
which have marked each stop, each hour, of a twelvemonth's prog- 
ress through the twenty-four States, and wiiich, while they over- 
whelm my heart with grateful delight, have most satisfactorily 
evinced the concurrence of the people hi the kind testimonies, in the 
immense favors bestowed on me by the several branches of their 
Representatives, in every part and at the central seat of the con- 
federacy ? 

" Yet "-ratifications still hijjher awaited me. In the wonders of 
creation and improvement that have met my enchanted eye, in tlie 
unparalleled and self-felt happiness of the people, in their rapid 
prosperity and insured security, public and private, in a practice of 
good order, the appendage of true freedom, and a national good 
sense, the final arbiter of all difiiculties, I have had proudly to recog- 
nize a result of the republican principles for which we have fought, 
and a glorious demonstration to the most timid and prejudiced 
minds, of the superiority, over degrading aristocracy or despotism, 
of popular institutions, founded on the plain rights of man, and 
where the local rights of every section are preserved under a con- 
stitutional bond of union. The cherishing of that union between 
the States, as it has been the farewell entreaty of our great paternal 
■Washington, and will ever have the dying prayer of every Ameri- 
can patriot, so it has become the sacred pledge of the emancipation 
of the world ; an object in which I am happy to observe that the 
American people, while they give the animating example of suc- 
cessful free institutions, in return for an evil entailed upon them by 


Europe, and of which a liberal and enlightened sense is every- 
where more and more generally felt, show themselves every day 
more anxiously interested. 

" And now, sir, how can I do justice to my deep and lively feel- 
ings for the assurances, most peculiarly valued, of your esteem 
and friendship ; for your so very kind references to old times — to my 
beloved associates — to the vicissitudes of my life ; for your affecting 
picture of the blessings poured, by the several generations of the 
American people, on the remaining days of a delighted veteran ; for 
your affectionate remarks on this sad hour of separation — on the 
country of my birth, full, I can say, of American sympathies — on 
the hope, so necessary to me, of my seeing again the country that 
has deigned, near a half a century ago, to call me hers ? I shall 
content myself, refraining from superfluous repetitions, at once, be- 
fore you, sir, and this respected circle, to proclaim my cordial con- 
firmation of every one of the sentiments which I have had daily 
opportunities publicly to utter, from the time when your venerable 
predecessor, my old brother in arms and friend, transmitted to me 
the honorable invitation of Congress, to this day, when you, my 
dear sir, whose friendly connection with me dates from your earliest 
youth, are going to consign me to the protection, across the Atlan- 
tic, of the heroic national flag, on board the splendid ship, the name 
of which has been riot the least flattering and kind amonsf the num- 
berless favors conferred upon me. 

" God bless you, sir, and all who surround us. God bless the 
American people, each of their States, and the Federal Government. 
Accept this patriotic farewell of an overflowing heart. Such will 
be its last throb when it ceases to beat." 

As the last sentence of the farewell was pronounced, 
La Fayette advanced and took President Adams in his 
arms, while tears poured down his venerable cheeks. 
Retiring a few paces, he was overcome by his feelings, 
and again returned, and falling on the neck of Mr. 
Adams, exclaimed in broken accents, " God bless you 1" 
It was a scene at once solemn and moving, as the 


sighs and tears of many who witnessed it bore testi' 
mony. Having recovered his self-possession, the Gen- 
eral stretched out his hands, and was in a moment 
surrounded by tlie greetings of the whole assembly, 
who pressed upon him, each eager to seize, perhaps 
for the last time, that beloved hand which was opened 
so freely for our aid when aid was so precious, and 
which grasped with firm and undeviating hold the 
steel which so bravely helped to achieve our deliver- 
ance. The expression which now beamed from the 
face of this exalted man was of the finest and most 
touching kind. The hero was lost in the father and 
the friend. Dignity melted into subdued affection, 
and the friend of Washington seemed to linger with 
a mournful delight among the sons of his adopted 

A considerable period was then occupied in con- 
versing with various individuals, while refreshments 
were presented to the company. The moment of 
departure at length arrived ; and having once more 
pressed the hand of Mr. Adains, he entered the ba- 
rouche, accompanied by the Secretaries of State, of 
the Treasury, and of the Navy, and passed from the 
capital of the Union. An immense procession accom- 
panied him to the banks of the Potomac, where the 
steamboat Mount Vernon awaited to convey him down 
the river to the frigate Brandywine. The whole scene 
— the peals of artillery, the sounds of numerous military 
bands, the presence of the vast concourse of people 


and the occasion that assembled them, produced emo- 
tions not easily described, but which every American 
heart can readily conceive. As the steamboat moved 
off, the deepest silence was observed by the whole 
multitude that lined the shore. The feelings that per- 
vaded them was that of children bidding farewell to a 
venerated parent. 

When the boat came opposite the tomb of Wash- 
ington, at Mount Vernon, it paused in its progress. 
La Fayette arose. The wonders which he had per- 
formed, for a man of his age, in successfully accomplish- 
ing labors enough to have tested his meridian vigor, 
whose animation rather resembled the spring than the 
winter of life, now seemed unequal to the task he was 
about to perform — to take a last look at " The tomb of 
Washington !" He advanced to the effort. A silence 
the most impressive reigned around, till the strains of 
sweet and plaintive music completed the grandeur 
and sacred solemnity of the scene. All hearts beat in 
unison with the throbbings of the veteran's bosom, as 
he looked, for the last time, on the sepulchre which 
contained the ashes of the first of men ! He spoke 
not, but appeared absorbed in the mighty recollections 
which the place and the occasion inspired. 

After this scene, the boat resumed its course, and the 
next morning anchored in safety near the Brandywine, 
Here La Fayette took leave of the Secretaries of State, 
the Treasury, and the Navy, and the guests who had 
accompanied him from Washington, together with 


many military and naval oflicers and eminent citizens 
who had assembled in various crafts near the frigate 
to bid him farewell. The weather had been boisterous 
and rainy, but just as the affecting scene had closed, 
the sun burst forth to cheer a spectacle which will long 
be remembered, and formed a magnificent arch, reach- 
ing from shore to shore — the barque which was to bear 
the venerable chief being immediately in the centre. 
Propitious omen ! Heaven smiles on the good deeds 
of men ! And if ever there was a sublime and virtuous 
action to be blessed by heaven and admired by men, it 
is when a free and grateful people unite to do honor to 
their friend and benefactor !* 

* National Intelligencer. 





The patriarchs John Adams and Thomas Jefferson 
still lingered on the shores of time. The former had 
attained the good old age of 90 years, and the latter 
82. Mrs. Adams, the venerable companion of the 
ex-President, died in Quincy, on the 28th of Oct., 1818, 
aged 74 years. Although, amid the various political 
strifes through which they had passed during the half 
century they had taken prominent parts in the affairs 
of their country, Adams and Jefferson had frequently 
been arrayed in opposite parties, and cherished many 
views quite dissimilar, yet their private friendship and 
deep attachment had been unbroken. It continued to 
be cherished with generous warmth to the end of their 
days. This pleasing fact, together with the wonderful 
vigor of their minds in extreme old age, is proved by 
the following interesting correspondence between them, 
which took place four years before their decease : — 



" Monticello, June 1, 1822. 
" It is very long, my dear sir, since I have written to you. My 
dislocated wrist is now become so stiff, that I write slowly, and with 
pain ; and therefore write as little as I can. Yet it is due to mu- 
tual friendship, to ask once in a while how we do ? The papers tell 
us that General Starke is off, at the age of ninety-three. ***** 
still lives at about the same age, cheerful, slender as a grasshopper, 
and so much without memory, that he scarcely recognizes the mem- 
bers of his liousehold. An intimate friend of his called on liim, 
not long since. It was difficult to make him recollect who he was, 
and sitting one hour, he told him the same story four times over. 
Is this life ? — with laboring step 

'To tread our former foobteps? paro the round 
Kternal ? — to bi-al and beat 
The beaten track — to see what we have seen — 
To taste the tasted — o'er our palates to decant 
Another vintage ?' 


" It is, at most, but the life of a cabbage, surely not worth a wish. 
When all our faculties have left, or arc leaving us, one by one, 
sight, hearing, memor}', every avenue of pleasing sensation is closed, 
and athumy, debility, and mal-aise left in their places, when the 
friends of our youth are all gone, and a generation is risen around 
us whom we know not, is death an evil ? 

* When one by one our tics are torn, 
And friend from friend is snutch-d forlorn ; 
When rasui is left alone to mourn, 
Ob, then, how sweet it is to die ! 

'When trembling limbs refuse their weight, 
And films slow gathering dim the sight ; 
When clouds obsciu-e the mental light, 
Tis nature's kindest boon to die 1' 

" I really think so. I have ever dreaded a doting old age ; and 
my health has been generally so good, and is now so good, that I 
dread it still. The rapid decHne of my strength during the last 
winter, has made me hope sometimes, that I see land. During 
summer, I enjoy its temperature, but I shudder at the approach of 


winter, and wish I could sleep through it, with the dormouse, and 
only wake with him in spring, if ever. They say that Starke could 
walk about his room. I am told you walk well and firmly. I can 
only reach my garden, and that with sensible fatigue. I ride, how- 
ever, daily ; but reading is my delight. I should wish never to put 
pen to paper ; and the more because of the treacherous practice* 
some people have, of publishing one's letters without leave. Lord 
Mansfield declared it a breach of trust, and punishable at law. I 
think it should be a penitentiary felony ; yet you will have seen 
that they have drawn me out into the arena of the newspapers. 
Although I know it is too late for me to buckle on the armor of 
youth, yet my indignation would not permit me passively to receive 
the kick of an ass. 

" To return to the news of the day, it seems that the cannibals 
of Europe are going to eat one another again. A war between 
Russia and Turkey is like the battle of the kite and snake ; which- 
ever destroys tlie other, leaves a destroyer the less for the world. 
This pugnacious humor of mankind seems to be the law of his 
nature ; one of the obstacles to too great multiplication, provided in 
the mechanism of the universe. The cocks of the hen-yard kill 
one another ; bears, bulls, rams, do the same, and the horse in his 
wild state kills all the young males, until, worn down with age and 
war, some vigorous youth kills him. ****** J hope we shall 
prove how much happier for man the Quaker policy is, and that the 
life of the feeder is better than that of the fighter. And it is some 
consolation that the desolation by these maniacs of one part of the 
earth is the means of improving it in other parts. Let the latter 
be our office ; and let us milk the covi^ while the Russian holds her 
by the horns, and the Turk by the tail. God bless you, and give 
you health, strength, good spirits, and as much of life as you think 
worth having. Thomas Jefferson." 


" Quincy, June 11, 1822. 
" Dear Sir : — Half an hour ago I received, and this moment have 
heard read, for the third or fourth time, the best letter that ever was 
written by an octogenarian, dated June 1st. 

" I have not sprained my wrist ; but both my arms and hands ar® 


SO overstrained tliat I cannot write a line. Poor Starke remem- 
bered nothing, and could talk of nothing but the battle of Benning- 
ton ! ******** is not quite so reduced. I cannot mount my 
liorse, but I can walk three miles over a rugged, rocky mountain, 
and have done it within a month ; yet I feel, when sitting in my 
chair, as if I could not rise out of it ; and when risen, as if I could 
not walk across the room. My sight is very dim, hearing pretty 
good, memory poor enough. 

" 1 answer your question, — Is death an evil ? It is not an evil. 
It is a blessing to the individual and to the world ; yet we ought not 
to wish for it, till life becomes insupportable. We must wait the 
pleasure and convenience of the ' Great Teacher.' Winter is as 
terrible to me as to you. I am almost reduced in it to the life of a 
bear or a torpid swallow. I cannot read, but my delight is to hear 
others read ; and I tax all my friends most unmercifully and tyran- 
nically against their consent. 

" The ass has kicked in vain ; all men say the dull animal has 
missed the mark. 

" This globe is a theatre of war ; its inhabitants are all heroes. 
The little eels in vinegar, and the animalcules in pepper-water, I 
believe, are quarrelsome. The bees are as warlike as the Romans, 
Russians, Britons, or Frenchmen. Ants, caterpillars, and canker- 
worms are the only tribes among whom I have not seen battles ; 
and Heaven itself, if we believe Hindoos, Jews, Christians, and 
Mahometans, has not always been at peace. We need not trouble 
ourselves about these things, nor fret ourselves because of evil 
doers ; but safely trust the ' Ruler with his skies.' Nor need we dread 
the approach of dotage ; let it come if it must. ******, it seems, 
still deliofhts in his four stories ; and Starke remembered to the last 

CD ^ 

his Bennington, and exulted in his glory ; the worst of the evil is, 
that our friends will suffer more by our iLibecility than we ourselves. 

" In wishing for your health and happiness, I am very selfish ; 

for I hope for more letters. Tiiis is worth more than five hundred 

dollars to me ; for it has already given me, and will continue to give 

me, more pleasure than a thousand. Mr. Jay, who is about your 

age, I am told, experiences more decay than you do. 

" I am your old friend, 

"John Adams," 




This correspondence excited attention in Europe. 
The editor of the London Morning Chronicle prefaces 
it with the following remarks : — 

" What a contrast the following correspondenco of the two rival 
Presidents of the greatest Republic of the world, reflecting an old 
age dedicated to virtue, temperance, and philosophy, presents to the 
heart-sickening details, occasionally disclosed to us, of the miser- 
able beings who fill the thrones of the continent. There is not, per- 
haps, one sovereign of the continent, who in any sense of the word 
can be said to honor our nature, while many make us almost 
ashamed of it. The curtain is seldom drawn aside without exhibit- 
ing to us beings worn out with vicious indulgence, diseased in 
mind, if not in body, the creatures of caprice and insensibility. On 
the other hand, since the foundation of the American Republic, the 
chair has never been filled by a man, for whose life (to say the 
least,) any American need once to blush. It must, therefore, be 
some compensation to the Americans for the absence of pure mon- 
archy, that when they look upwards their eyes are not always 
met by vice, and meannesss, and often idiocy." 

John Adams joined his fellow-citizens of Quincy, 
Mass., in celebrating the 4th of July, 1823, at the age 
of 88 years. Being called upon for a toast, he gave 
the following : — 

" The excellent President, Governor, Ambassador, and Chief Jus- 
tice, John Jat, whose name, by accident, was not subscribed on the 
Declaration of Independence, as it ought to have been, for he 
was one of its ablest and faithfullest supporters. — A splendid star 
just setting below the horizon." 

It would be difficult (said the Boston Patriot,) fully 
to describe the delicate manner in which this toast 
was received and noticed by the company. Instead 
of loud acclamations, which succeeded the other toasts, 


it was followed by soft and mterrupted interjections 
and aspirations, as if each individual was casting up an 
ejaculatory prayer, that the two illustrious sages might 
pass the remainder of their days in tranquillity and ease, 
and finally be landed on the blissful shores of a happy 

In September, 1825, President Adams, with his fam- 
ily, left Washington, on a visit to his venerable father, 
at Quincy. He travelled without ostentation, and espe- 
cially requested that no public display might be mani- 
fested. At Philadelphia, Mrs. Adams was taken ill, and 
the President was compelled to proceed without her. 
This visit was of short duration. Called back to 
Washington by public affairs, he left Quincy on the 
14th of October. It was his last interview on earth 
with his venerated parent. The aged patriarch had 
lived to see his country emancipated from foreign thral- 
dom, its independence acknowledged, its union con- 
summated, its prosperity and perpetuity resting on an 
immovable foundation, and his son elevated to the 
highest office in its gift. It was enough ! His work 
accomplished — the book of his eventful life written and 
sealed for immortality — he was ready to depart and be 
at peace. 

The 4th of July, 1826, will long be memorable for 
one of the most remarkable coincidences that has 
ever taken place in the history of nations. It was the 
fiftieth anniversary — the ''jubilee" — of American inde- 
pendence ! Preparations had been made throughout 


the Union, to celebrate the day with unusual pomp 
and display. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had 
both been invited to participate in the festivities of the 
occasion, at their several places of abode. But a higher 
summons awaited them ! they were bidden to a 
"jubilee" above, which shall have no end! On that 
half-century anniversary of American Independence, 
at nearly the same hour of the day, the spirits of 
Adams and Jefferson took their departure from earth ! ! 
Amid the rejoicings of the people, the peals of artillery, 
the strains of music, the exultations of a great nation 
in the enjoyment of freedom, peace, and happiness, they 
were released from the toils of life, and allowed to en- 
ter on their rest. 

The one virtuall}^ the mover, the other the framer, of 
the immortal Declaration of Independence — they had 
together shared the dangers and the honors of the rev- 
olution — had served their country in various impor- 
tant and responsible capacities — had both received the 
highest honors in the gift of their fellow-citizens — had 
lived to see the nation to which they assisted in giving 
birth assume a proud stand among the nations of the 
earth — her free institutions framed, consolidated, tried, 
and matured — her commerce hoverins: over all seas — 
respected abroad, united, prosperous, happy at home — 
what more had earth in store for them ? Together 
they had counselled — together they had dared the 
power of a proud and powerful Government — together 
they had toiled to build up a great and prosperous peo- 


pie — together they rejoiced in the success with which 
a wise and good Providence had crowned their labors 
— and together, on their country's natal day, amid the 
loud-swelling acclamations of the "national jubilee," 
their freed spirits soared to light and glory above ! . 

The venerable ex-President Adams had been failing 
for several days before the 4th of July. In reply to an 
invitation from a committee of the citizens of Quincy, 
to unite with them in celebrating the fiftieth anniver- 
sary of American independence, he had written a note, 
from which the following is an extract : — 

" The present feeble state of my health will not permit me to in- 
dulge the hope of participating with more than my best wishes, in 
the joys, and festivities, and the solemn services of that day on 
which will be completed the fiftieth year from its birth, of the inde- 
pendence of the United States : a memorable epoch in the annals 
of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest 
or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those po- 
litical institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped 
by the human mind." 

Being solicited for a toast, to accompany the letter, 
he gave — " Independence forever ! !" He was asked 
if anything should be added to it. Immediately he 
replied — "iVbi a word /" This toast was drank at the 
celebration in Quincy, about fifty minutes before the 
departure of the venerated statesman from earth. 

On the morning of the 4th, which was ushered in 
by the ringing of bells and firing of cannon, he was 
asked if he knew what day it was ? — " O yes," he re- 
plied, " it is the glorious fourth of July — God bless it !^ 

• 1 


God bless you all ! !" In the course of the day he 
said, "It is a great and glorious day." The last words 
he uttered were, " Jefferson survives !" But the spirit 
of Jefferson had already left the body, and was hover- 
ing over the earth, to accompany his to higher and 
brighter scenes of existence !-! 

Mr. Jefferson had been sensible for some days, that 
his last hour was at hand. He conversed with his 
family and friends, with the utmost composure, of his 
departure, and gave directions concerning his coffin 
and his funeral. lie was desirous that the latter 
should take place at Monticello, and that it should be 
without any display or parade. On Monday he in- 
quired the day of the month ? Being told it was the 
3d of July, he expressed an earnest desire that he 
might be allowed to behold the light of the next day — 
the fiftieth anniversary of American independence. 
His prayer was heard and answered. He beheld the 
rising of that sun on the morning of the 4th, which 
was to set on a nation mourning the loss of two of its 
noblest benefactors, and its brightest ornaments. He 
was cheerful to the last. A day or two previous, being 
in great pain, he said to his physician — " Well, doctor, 
a few hours more, and the struggle will be over." 

On the morning of the last day, as the physician en- 
tered his apartment, he said, '* You see, doctor, I am 
here yet." On a member of his family expressing an 
opinion that he was better, he replied, with evident im- 
patience — " Do not imagine for a moment that I feel 


the smallest solicitude as to the result." Some individ- 
ual present uttering a hope that he might recover, he 
asked with a smile — ** Do you think I fear to die ?" 
Thus departed Thomas Jefferson. His last words 
were — " I resign my soul to my God, and my daughter 
to my country !" 

President J. Q. Adams receiving intelligence at 
Washington of the illness of his father, started im- 
mediately for Quincy. Shortly before arriving at Bal- 
timore, tidings reached him that the patriarch had gone 
to his rest. Mr. Adams pursued his journey, but did 
not arrive at Quincy in season to be present at the 
funeral. This took place on the 7th of July. It was 
attended by a large body of citizens, assembled from 
the surrounding region. The funeral services took 
place at the Unitarian church in Quincy, on which 
occasion an impressive discourse was delivered by the 
Pastor, Rev. Mr. Whitney. The ])all-bearers were 
Judge Davis, President Kirkland, Gov. Lincoln, Hon. 
Mr. Greenleaf, Judge Story, and Lieut. Gov. Win- 
throp. During the exercises and the moving of the 
procession, minute guns were fired from Mount Wal- 
laston, and from various eminences in the adjoining 
towns, and every mark of respect was paid to the 
remains of one who filled so high a place in the history 
of his country and the regard of his fellow-citizens. 

On the 2d of August, Mr. Webster delivered a 
eulogy on the death of Adams and Jefferson, before 


the city authorities of Boston, and a vast body of 
people, in Faneuil Hall. President Adams was pres- 
ent. It was one of Mr. Webster's most eloquent and 
successful attempts. He commenced as follows : — 

" This is an unaccustomed spectacle. For the first time, fellow- 
citizens, badges of mourning shroud the columns and overhang the 
arches of this hall. These walls, which were consecrated, so long 
ago, to the cause of American liberty, which witnessed her infant 
struggles and rung with the shouts of her earliest victories, proclaim 
now, that distinguished friends and champions of that great cause 
have fallen. It is right that it should be thus. The tears which 
flow, and the honors that are paid, when the Founders of the Repub- 
lic die, give hope that the Republic itself may be immortal. It is 
fit, that by pubHc assembly and solemn observance, by anthem and 
by eulogy, we commemorate the services of national benefactors, ex- 
tol their virtues, and render thanks to God for eminent blessings, 
early given and long continued to our favored country. 

" Adams and Jefferson are no more ; and we are assembled, 
fellow-citizens, the aged, the middle-aged and the young, by the 
spontaneous impulse of all, under the authority of the municipal 
government, with the presence of the chief magistrate of the com- 
monwealth, and others of its official representatives, the university, 
and the learned societies, to bear our part in these manifestations of 
respect and gratitude, which universally pervade the land. Adams 
and Jefferson are no more. On our fiftieth anniversary, the great 
national jubilee, in the very hour of public rejoicing, in the midst of 
echoing and re-echoing voices of thanksgiving, while their own 
names were on all tongues, they took their flight together to the 
world of spirits." 

The conclusion of Mr. Webster's eulogy was equally 
impressive : 

" Fellow-citizens : I will detain you no longer by this faint and 
feeble tribute to the illustrious dead. Even in other hands, adequate 
justice could not be performed, within the limits of this occasion. 
Their highest, their best praise, is your deep conviction of their 



merits, your affectionate gratitude for their labors and services, it 
is not my voice, it is this cessation of ordinary pursuits, this arrest- 
ing of all attention, those solemn ceremonies, and this crowded 
house, which speak their eulogy. Their fame, indeed, is safe. 
That is now treasured up, beyond the reach of accident. Although 
no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone 
bear record to their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting 
as the land they honored. Marble columns may, indeed, moulder 
into dust, time may erase all impress from the crumbling stone, but 
their fame remains ; for with American liberty it rose, and with 
American hberty only can it perish. It was the last swelling peal 
of yonder choir — 'Their bodies are buried in peace, but 
THEIR NAME LivETH EVERMORE !' I catch that Solemn song, I 
echo that lofty strain of fuiKiral triumph ! ' Their name liveth ever- 

" It cannot be denied, but by those who would dispute against 
the sun, that with America, and in America, a new era commences 
in human affairs. This era is distinguished by free representative 
governments, by entire religious liberty, by improved systems of na- 
tional intercourse, by a newly-awakened and an unconquerable spirit 
of free inquir)-, and by a diffusion of knowledge through the com- 
munity, such as has been before altogether unknown and unheard 
of. America, America, our country, fellow-citizens, our own dear 
and native land, is inseparably connected, fast bound up, in fortune 
and by fate, with these great interests. If they fall, we fall with 
them ; if they stand, it will be because we have upholden them. 
Let us contemplate, then, this connection, which binds the prosperity 
of others to our own ; and let us manfully discharge all the duties 
which it imposes. If we cherish the virtues and the principles of 
our fathers, heaven will assist us to carry on the work of human 
liberty, and human happiness. Auspicious omens cheer us : great 
examples are before us : our own firmament now shines brightly 
upon our path: Washington is in the clear upper sky. These 
other stars have now joined the American constellation ; they circle 
around their centre, and the heavens beam with a new light. Be- 
neath this illumination, let us w^alk the course of life, and at its 
close devoutly commend our beloved country, the common parent of 
us all, to the Divine Benignity." 


During this visit at the East, at this time, President 
J. Q. Adams attended the annual examination of the 
pubHc schools in Boston, and was present at the public 
dinner given in Faneuil Hall, to the school committee, 
teachers, and most meritorious scholars. In reply to 
a complimentary toast from the Mayor, Mr. Adams 
responded as follows : — 

" Mr. Mayor, and my Fellow-citizens of Boston : — A few days 
since, we were assembled in this Hall, as the house of mourning — 
in commemoration of the two last survivors of that day which had 
proclaimed at once our independence and our existence as a nation. 
We are now assembled within the same walls, at the house of 
feasting — at the festival of fathers rejoicing in the progressive 
improvement of their children. 

" We have been told by the wisest man of antiquity, that it is 
better to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting. 
How emphatically true would that sentence be, if the house of 
mourning were always such as this hall but so recently exhibited ! 
— a mourning of gratitude — a mourning of faithful affection — a 
mourning full of consolation and joy. And yet, could the wisest 
of men now look down upon this happy meeting — of parents par- 
taking together of the bounties of Providence, in mutual gratulation 
with each other at the advances of their offspring in moral and 
intellectual cultivation — would he, could he, my friends, have said 
that it is better to go to the house of mourning than to such a house 
of feasting ? 

" For is not the spirit of that solemnity, and of this, effectively 
the same ? If that was the commemoration of the good deeds of 
your forefathers, may not this be called the commemoration of the 
future achievements of your sons ? If that day was dedicated to 
the blessed memory of the past, is not this devoted to the no less 
blessed hope of the future ? It was from schools of public instruc- 
tion, instituted by our forefathers, that the light burst forth. It was 
in the primary schools ; it was by the midnight lamps of Harvard 
hall, that were conceived and matured, as it was within these hal- 



lowed walls that were first resounded the accents of that independ- 
ence w^hich is now canonized in the memory of those by whom 
it was proclaimed. 

" Was it not there that were formed, to say nothing of him * fit 
for the praise of any tongue but mine,' — but was it not there that 
were formed, and prepared for the conflicts of the mind, for the 
intellectual warfare which distinguishes your Revolution from all 
;he brutal butcheries of vulgar war, your James Otis, your Joim 
Hancock, your Samuel Adams, your Robert Treat Paine, your 
Elbridge Gerry, your James and your Joseph Warren, and last, 
not least, your Josiah Quincy, so worthily represented by your 
Chief Magistrate here at my side ? 

" Indulge me, fellow-citizens, with the remark, that I have been 
called to answer to myself these questions, before I could enjoy the 
happiness, at the very kind invitation of your Mayor and Aldermen, 
of presenting myself among you this day. 

"In conformity to my own inclinations, and to the usages of 
society, I have deemed it proper, on the recent bereavement I have 
sustained, to withdraw for a time from the festive intercourse of 
the world, and in retirement, so far as may be consistent with the 
discliarge of public trusts, to prepare for and perform the additional 
duties devolving upon me, as a son, and as a parent, from this 
visitation of heaven. To that retirement I have liilherto been con- 
fined ; and in departing from it for a single day, I have needed an | 
apology to myself, as I trust I shall need one to you. Seek for 
it, my fellow- citizens in your own paternal hearts. I have been 
unable to resist the invitation of the authorities of this my own 
almost native city, to mingle with her inhabitants in the joyous 
festivities of this occasion— and, after witnessing, in the visitation 
of the schools, hundreds and thousands of the rising generation 
training ' up in the way they should go ;' to come here and behold 
the distinguished proficients of the schools sharing at the social 
board the pleasures of their fathers, and to congratulate the 
fathers on the growing virtues and brightening talents of their 

" But, fellow-citizens, I will no longer trespass upon your indul- 
gence. I thank you for the sentiment with which you have 
honored me. I tliank you for the many affecting testimonials of 
kmdness and sympathy wliich I have so often received at your 


hands ; and will give you as a token of my good wishes, not your- 
selves, but objects dearer to your hearts. Mr. Mayor, I propose to 
you for a toast — 

" The blooming youth of Boston — May the maturity of the fruit 
be equal to the promise of the blossom." 


MR. Adams's administration — refuses to remove political 






In administering llie Government of the United 
States, Mr. Adams adhered with rigid fidelity to the 
principles embodied in his inaugural speech. Believ- 
ing that " the will of the people is the source, and the 
happiness of the people the end, of all legitimate govern- 
ment on earth," it was his constant aim to act up to 
this patriotic principle in the discharge of his duties 
as chief magistrate. He was emphatically the Presi- 
dent of the entire people, and not of a section, or a 
party. His administration was truly national in its 
scope, its objects, and its results. His views of the 
sacred nature of the trust imposed upon him by his 
fellow-citizens were too exalted to allow him to des- 
ecrate the power with which it clothed him to the pro- 
motion of party or personal interests. Although not 
anrxiindful of the party which elevated him to the 


presidency, nor forgetful of the claims of those who 
yielded sympathy and support to the measures of his 
administration, yet in all his doings in this respect, his 
primary aim was the general good. Simply a friend- 
ship for him, or his measures, without other and requi- 
site qualifications, would not ensure from Mr. Adams 
an appointment to office. Neither did an opposition 
to his administration alone, except there was a marked 
practical unfitness for office, ever induce him to remove 
an individual from a public station. 

Looking back to the administration of Mr. Adams 
from the present day, and comparing it with those 
which have succeeded it, or even those which preceded 
it, the acknowledgment must be made by all candid 
minds, that it will lose nothing in purity, patriotism, 
and fidelity, in the discharge of ail its trusts. He was 
utterly incapable of proscription for opinion's sake. 
With a stern integrity worthy the highest admira- 
tion, and which the people at that period were far too 
slow to acknowledge and appreciate, he would not dis- 
place his most active political opponents from public 
stations he found them occupying, provided they were 
competent to their duty and faithful in the discharge 
of the same. " It was in my hearing that, to a repre- 
sentation that a certain important and influential 
functionary of the General Government in New York 
was using the power of his office adversely to Mr. 
Adams's re-election, and that he ought to desist or 
be removed, Mr. Adams made this reply : — * That 


gentleman is one of the best officers in the public 
service. I have had occasion to know his dihgence, 
exactness, and punctuality. On public grounds, there- 
fore, there is no cause of complaint against, him, 
and upon no other will I remove him. If I cannot 
administer the Government on these principles^ I am 
content to go hack to Quincy /'"* Being in Baltimore 
on a certain occasion, among those introduced to him 
was a gentleman who accosted him thus — *'Mr. 
President, though I differ from you in opinion, I am 
glad to find you in good health.'' The President gave 
him a hearty shake of the hand, and replied, — " Sir, in 
our happy and free country, we can differ in opinion 
without beiuCT enemies." 

These anecdotes illustrate the character and prin- 
ciples of Mr. Adams. He knew nothing of the 
jealousy and bitterness which are gendered, in little 
minds and hearts, by disparities of sentiment. Free- 
dom of opinion he considered the birthright of every 
American citizen, and he would in no instance be the 
instrument of inflicting punishment upon the head of 
any man on account of its exercise. High and pure 
in all his aims, he sought to reach them by means of 
a corresponding character. If he could not succeed 
in the use of such instruments, he was content to meet 
defeat. The rule by which he was governed in the 
discharge of his official duties, is beautifully expressed 
by the dramatic bard : — 

♦ King's Eulogy on John Quincy Adam*. 


" Be just and fear not. 
Let all the ends thou aim'st at, be thy Country's, 
Thy God's, and Truth's. Then if thou fall'st, O Cromwell, 
Thou fall'st a blessed martyr !" 


In the truly republican position which Mr. Adams 
took in regard to appointments to office, and which, 
it is humiliating to believe, was one means of his 
subsequent defeat, he but faithfully imitated the ex- 
ample of " the Father of his country." When Gen. 
Washington occupied the presidential chair, applica- 
tion was made for the appointment of one of his old 
and intimate friends to a lucrative office. At the same 
time a petition was received asking the same station 
for a most determined political opponent. The latter 
received the appointment. The friend was greatly dis- 
appointed and hurt in his feelings at his defeat. Let the 
explanation of Washington be noted and ever remem- 
bered : — " My friend," said he, *' I receive with cordial 
welcome. He is welcome to my house, and welcome 
to my heart ; but with all his good qualities he is not a 
man of business. His opponent, with all his politics 
so hostile to me, is a man of business. My private 
feelings have nothing to do in the case. I am not 
George Washington, but President of the United 
States. As George Washington, I would do this man 
any kindness in my power — as President of the United 
States, Lean do nothing." ^. 

The period of Mr. Adams's administration, was not 


one which admitted of acts calculated to rivet the 
attention, or excite the admiration and applause of the 
multitude. No crisis occurred in national affairs — no 
imminent peril from without, or danger within, threat- 
ened the well-being of the country ! Quietness reigned 
throughout the world, and the nations were allowed 
once more to cultivate the arts of peace, to enlarge the 
operations of commerce, and to fix their attention on 
domestic interests — the onlv true fountain of national 
prosperity. But though lacking in some of the more 
striiving elements of popularity, the administration of 
Mr. Adams was pre-eminently useful in all its measures 
and influences. During no Presidential term since the 
organization of the Government, has more been done 
to consolidate the Union, and develop its resources, 
and lay the foundations of national strength and 

The two great interests which, perhaps, received the 
largest share of attention from Mr. Adams' adminis- 
tration, were internal improvements and domestic man- 
ufactures. A special attention to these subjects was 
recommended in his messajres to Conm-ess. And 
throughout his term, he failed not to urge these vital 
matters upon the attention of the people, and their rep- 
resentatives. He recommended the opening of national 
roads and canals — the improvement of the navigation 
of rivers, and the safety of harbors — the survey of our 
coasts, the erection of light houses, piers, and break- 
waters. Whatever tended to facilitate communication 


and transportation between extreme portions of the 
Union— to bring the people of distant sections into a 
more direct intercourse with each other, and bind them 
together by ties of a business, social and friendly nature 
— to promote enterprize, industry, and enlarged views 
of national and individual prosperity — obtained his 
earnest sanction and recommendation. To encourage 
home labor — to protect our infant manufactories from 
a fatal competition with foreign pauper wages — to 
foster and build up in the bosom of the country a 
system of domestic production, which should not only 
supply home consumption, and afford a home market 
for raw materials and provisions, the produce of our 
own soil, but enable us in due time to compete with 
other nations in sending our manufactures to foreign 
markets — he yielded all his influence to the levying of 
protective duties on foreign articles, especially such as 
could be produced in our own country. The wisdom 
of this policy, its direct tendency to promote national 
wealth and strength, and to render the Union truly in- 
dependent of the fluctuations and vicissitudes of foreign 
countries, cannot be doubted, it would seem, by those 
possessing clear minds and sound judgment, of all 

Under the faithful supervision of one so vigilant as 
Mr. Adams, the foreign relations of the Government 
could not have been neglected. The intimate knowl- 
edge of the condition of foreign nations, their resources 
and their wants, which was possessed by himself and 


by Mr. Clay, the Secretary of State, afforded facilities 
in this department, from which the country reaped the 
richest benefit. During the four years of his adminis- 
tration, more treaties were neprotiated at Washinjrton 

' DO 

than during the entire thirty-six years through wRich 
the preceding administrations had extended. New 
treaties of amity, navigation and commerce, were con- 
cluded with Austria, Sweden, Denmark, the Ilanseatic 
League, Prussia, Colombia, and Central America 
Commercial difilculties and various arransremcnts of 
a satisfactory character, were settled with the Nether- 
lands, and other European Governments. The claims 
of our citizens against Sweden, Denmark and Brazil, 
for spoilations of commerce, were satisfactorily con- 

" As time advances, the evidences are accumulating 
on all sides, that the administration of John Quincy 
Adams was one of the most wise, patriotic, pacific, 
just, and wealth-producing, in the history of the country; 
and no small part of that benefit may justly be ascribed 
to the aid he received from his Secretary of State. 
Mr. Adams himself was a great statesman, bred in the 
school of statesmen, and all his life exercised in the 
business of state, with recognized skill, and approved 
fidelity. The seven years immediately preceding the 
administration of Mr. Adams, was a period of great 
commercial embarrassment and distress ; and the seven 
years subsequent to his entrance on the duties of chief 



executive, was a period of great public and private 

While Mr. Adams was thus seeking to foster and en- 
courage the industrial and monetary interests of the 
country, he was not forgetful of the important claims 
of literature and science. President Washington, during 
his administration, had repeatedly urged on Congress 
the importance of establishing a national university at 
the capital ; and he had located and bequeathed a site 
for that purpose. But his appeals on this subject had 
been in vain. In Mr. Adams's first message, he ear- 
nestly called on Congress to carry into execution this 
recommendation of the Father of his Country — insist- 
ing that " among the first, perhaps the very first instru- 
ment for the improvement of the condition of men, is 
knowledge ; and to the acquisition of much of the 
knowledge adapted to the wants, the comforts, and the 
enjoyments of human life, public institutions and sem- 
inaries of learning are essential." 

In the same message Mr. Adams recommended the 
establishment of a national observatory. "Connected 
with the establishment of an university," he said " or, 
separate from it, might be undertaken the erection of 
an astronomical observatory, with provision for the 
support of an astronomer, to be in constant attendance 
of observation upon the phenomena of the heavens, and 
for the periodical publication of his observations. It is 
with no feeling of pride, as an American, that the re- 

• Cotton's Life of Clay. 


mark may be made, that, on the comparatively small 
territorial surface of Europe, there are existing upwards 
of one hundred and thirty of these light-houses in the 
skies ; while, throughout the whole American hemi- 
sphere, there is not one. If we reflect a moment upon 
the discoveries which, in the last four centuries, have 
been made in the physical constitution of the universe, 
by the means of these buildings, and of observers sta- 
tioned in them, shall we doubt of their usefulness to 
every nation ? And while scarcely a year passes over 
our heads without bringing some new astronomical 
discovery to light, which we must fain receive at second 
hand from Europe, are we not cutting ourselves off from 
the means of returning light for light, while we have 
neither observatory nor observer upon our half of the 
globe, and the earth revolves in perpetual darkness to 
our unsearching eyes ?" 

It is humiliating to reflect that neither of these rec- 
ommendations received an encouraging response from 
Congress. The latter suggestion, indeed, excited the 
ridicule of many of the opposers of Mr. Adams, and 
**a light-house in the skies," became a term of reproach 
in their midst. In this, however, it must be confessed, 
their ridicule was greatly at the expense of their intel- 
ligence, their public spirit, and their devotion to the 
highest interests of man. There are few reflections 
more mortifying to an American citizen, than that 
while so large a portion of the resources of the na- 
tional Government have been exhausted in prosecuting 


party measures, rewarding partisan services, and pro- 
moting sectional and personal schemes, little or nothing 
has been devoted to the encouras^ement of the arts and 
sciences, and the cultivation of those higher walks of 
human attainment which exalt and refine a people, and 
fit them for the purest and sweetest enjoyments of hfe. 

It was during the first year of his administration, that 
the attention of Mr. Adams was called to a proposed 
Congress of all the Republics on the American Con- 
tinent, to meet at Panama. The objects designed to be 
accomplished by such a Congress have been variously 
stated. It has been believed by some to have been 
called for the purpose of opposing a supposed project, 
entertained by the Allied Powers of Europe, of combin- 
ing for the purpose of reducing the American Republics 
to their former condition of European vassalage. Be 
this as it may, the Panama Congress, among its objects, 
aimed at the cementing of the friendly relations of all 
the independent States of America, and the forming of 
a kind of mutual council, to act as an umpire to settle 
the differences which might arise between them. 

The United States was invited to send representa- 
tives to Panama. Mr. Adams, as President, in view 
of the beneficial influences which in various ways 
might flow from such a meeting, accepted the invita- 
tion, with the understanding that the Government of 
the United States would take no part that could con- 
flict with its neutral position, in the wars which might 


then be in existence between any of the South Ameri- 
can Republics and other powers. The acceptance of 
this invitation was announced by Mr. Adams in his 
first message to Congress. This was immediately fol- 
lowed by the nomination of Messrs. Richard C. Ander- 
son and John Sargeant, as commissioners to the Con- 
gress of Panama, and Wm. B. Rochester, of New 
York, as secretary of the commission. These nomina- 
tions were confirmed by the Senate ; and an appro- 
priation was voted by the House of Representatives, 
after strong opposition and much dela}^ to carry the 
contemplated measure into effect. 

But the United States Government was never repre- 
sented in the Panama Congress. The proceedings in 
the House of Representatives on this subject had been 
so protracted, that it was found too late for Mr. Sar- 
geant to reach Panama in season for the meeting of the 
Congress, which took place on the 22nd of June, 1826. 
Mr. Anderson, who was then minister at Colombia, on 
receiving his instructions, commenced his journey to 
Panama ; but on reaching Carthagena he was seized 
with a malignant fever, which terminated his existence. 

During the second session of the nineteenth Con- 
gress, the subject of commercial intercourse with the 
British West India Colonies was thoroughly discussed. 
The British Parliament had laid restrictions so onerous 
on the trade of the United States with these Colonies, 
that it could be pursued to very little profit. Bills 


were introduced into both houses of Congress, for the 
protection of the interests of American merchants, 
trading with the British Colonies ; but the Senate and 
House faihng to agree on the details of the proposed 
measures, nothing was done to effect the desired ob- 
ject. Congress having adjourned without passing any 
law to meet the restrictive measures of Great Britain, 
President Adams, on the 17th of March, 1827, agree- 
ably to a law passed three years before, issued a pro- 
clamation closing the ports of the United States 
against vessels from the British colonies, until the 
restrictive measures of the British Government should 
be repealed. 

The policy pursued by Mr. Adams toward the 
Indian tribes within the United States, was pacific and 
humane. The position they held toward the General 
Government was of an unsettled and embarrassing 
character. Enjoying a species of independence, and 
subject to laws of their own enactment, they were, 
nevertheless, dependent on the Government of the 
United States for protection, and were, in fact, wholly 
at its disposal. Near the close of Mr. Monroe's ad- 
ministration, in a message to Congress, on the 27th of 
January, 1825, he proposed a plan to remove the 
tribes scattered through the several States, to a tract 
of country west of the Mississippi, and to unite them 
in one nation, with some plan for their government 
and civilization. This proposition meeting with a 
decided opposition on the part of many of the Indians, 



was modified during Mr. Adams's administration. It 
finally resulted in a plan of removing west of the Mis- 
sissippi such individuals among the various tribes as 
w^ould consent to go under the inducements held out ; 
and allowing the remainder to continue in their old 
abode, occupying each a small tract of land. This 
policy has since been pursued by the General Govern- 
ment, and has resulted in the removal of most of the 
aborigines beyond the western shores of the Mis- 

These removals, however, have been attended with 
no little difliculty, and at times have led to collisions 
which have assumed a serious aspect. An instance 
of this description occurred during the first year Mr. 
Adams occupied the presidential chair. In 1802, a 
compact was formed between the General Government 
and the State of Georgia, in which it was agreed, that 
in consequence of the relinquishment, on the part of 
Georgia, of all her claim to the land set off in the then 
new Mississippi Territory, the General Government, 
at its own expense, should obtain a relinquishment, 
from the Creek Indians, of all their lands within the 
State of Georgia, "whenever it could be peaceably 
done upon reasonable terms." 

In compliance with this agreement, the United 
States had extinguished the Indian title to about fifteen 
millions of acres of land. At the close of Mr. Monroe's 
administration, over nine millions of acres were still 
retained by the Indians. The State authorities of 


Georgia became very anxious to obtain possession of 
this also. At the soHcitation of Gov. Troup, President 
Madison sent two Commissioners to make a treaty 
with the Creeks, for the purchase of their lands, and the 
removal of the Indians beyond the Mississippi. Bu 
the Creeks, having begun to appreciate and enjoy the 
comforts of civilization, and the advantages of the arts 
and sciences, which had been introduced into their 
midst, refused to treat on the subject, and passed a law 
in the General Council of their nation, forbidding, on 
pain of death, the sale of any of their lands. After 
the close of the council, a few of the Creeks, influ- 
enced by a chief named M'Intosh, met the United 
States Commissioners, and formed a treaty on their 
own responsibility, ceding to the General Government 
all the Creek lands in Georgia and Alabama. When 
intelligence of this treaty was circulated among th& 
Indians, they were filled with indignation. Their 
General Council met — resolved not to sanction a 
treaty obtained in a manner so dishonorable and 
illegal — and despatched a party of Indians to the resi- 
dence of M'Intosh, who immediately shot him and 
another chief who had signed the treaty with him. 

This surreptitious treaty was transmitted to Wash- 
ington, and under a misapprehension of the manner 
in which it was secured, was ratified by the Senate, 
on the 3d of March, 1825, the last day of Mr. 
Monroe's administration. Gov. Troup, acting under 
this treaty, sent surveyors into the Creek Territory, to 


lay out the land in lots, which were to be distributed 
among the ^vhite inhabitants of Georgia, by lottery. 
The Indians resisted this encroachment, and prepared 
to defend their rights by physical force — at the same 
time sending to Washington for protection from the 
General Government. The authorities of Georgia 
insisted upon a survey, and ordered out a body of 
militia to enforce it. 

On hearing of this state of affairs, President Adams 
despatched a special agent to inquire into the facts 
of the case. After due investigation, the agent re- 
ported that the treaty had been obtained by bad faith 
and corruption, and that the Creeks were almost 
unanimously opposed to the cession of their lands. 
On receiving this report, the President determined 
to prevent the survey ordered by the Governor of 
Georgia, until the matter could be submitted to Con- 
gress, and ordered Gen. Gaines to proceed to the 
Creek country with a body of United States troops, to 
prevent collision between the Indians and the Georgia 

On the 5th of February, Mr. Adams transmitted 
a message to Congress, giving a statement of these 
transactions, and declaring his determination to fulfil 
the duty of protection the nation owed the Creeks, 
.is guaranteed by treaty, by all the force at his com- 
mand. " That the arm of military force," he con- 
tinued, "will be resorted to only in the event of the 
failure of all other expedients provided by the laws, a 


pledge has been given by the forbearance to employ 
it at this time. It is submitted to the wisdom of Con- 
gress to determine whether any further acts of legis- 
lation may be necessary or expedient to meet the 
emergency which these transactions may produce." 

The committee of the House of Representatives, to 
which this message was referred, reported that it " is 
expedient to procure a cession of the Indian lands in 
the State of Georgia, and that until such a cession is 
procured, the law of the land, as set forth in the treaty 
at Washington, ought to be maintained by all neces- 
sary, constitutional, and legal means." The firmness 
and decision of President Adams undoubtedly pre- 
vented the unhappy consequences of a collision be- 
tween the people of Georgia and the Creek Indians. 
A new negotiation was opened with the Indians, by 
direction of the President, which resulted in declaring 
the M'Intosh treaty null and void, and in obtaining, at 
length, a cession of all the lands of the Creeks within 
the hmits of Georgia, to the General Government. 

As the friend and promoter of internal improve- 
ments, Mr. Adams was invited to be present at the 
interesting ceremony of "breaking ground," on the 
Chesapeake and Ohio canal, then about to be com- 
menced, which took place on the 4th of July, 1828. 
On the morning of that day, the President, the Heads 
of Departments, the Foreign Ministers, the Corpora- 
tions of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria, the 



President and Directors of the Chesapeake and Ohio 
Canal Company, with a large concourse of citizens, 
embarked on board of steamboats and ascended the 
Potomac, to the place selected for the ceremony. On 
reaching the ground, a procession was formed, which 
moved around it so as to leave a hollow space, in the 
midst of a mass of people, in the centre of which was 
the spot marked out by Judge Wright, the Engineer 
of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, for the 
commencement of the work. A moment's pause here 
occurred, while the spade, destined to commence the 
work, was selected by the committee of arrangements, 
and the spot for breaking ground was precisely 

At that moment the sun shone out from behind a 
cloud, giving an appearance of the highest animation 
to the scene. Amidst an intense silence, the Mayor 
of Georgetown handed to Gen. Mercer, the President 
of the Canal Company, the consecrated instrument ; 
which, having received, he stepped forward from the 
resting column, and addressed as follows the listening 
multitude : — 

" Fellow-citizens : There are moments in the progress of time 
wliicli are the counters of whole ages. There are events, the 
monuments of which, surviving every other memorial of human ex- 
istence, eternize the nation to whose history they belong, after all 
other vestiges of its glory have disappeared from the globe. At 
such a moment have we now arrived. Such a monument we are 
now to found." 


Turning towards the President of the United States, 
who stood near him, Mr. M. proceeded : — 

" Mr. President : On a day hallowed by the fondest recollections, 
beneath this cheering (may we not humbly trust auspicious) sky, 
surrounded by the many thousand spectators who look oji us with 
joyous anticipation ; in the presence of the representatives of the 
most polished nations of the old and new worlds ; on a spot where 
little more than a century ago the painted savage held his nightly 
orgies ; at the request of the three cities of the District of Columbia, 
I present to the Chief Magistrate of the most powerful Republic on 
earth, for the most noble purpose that was ever conceived by man, 
this humble instrument of rural labor, a symbol of the favorite occupa- 
tion of our countrymen. May the use to which it is about to be devoted 
prove the precursor, to our beloved country, of improved agriculture, 
of multiplied and diversified arts, of extended commerce and navi- 
gation. Combining its social and moral influence with the princi. 
pies of that happy constitution under which you have been called 
to preside over the American people, may it become a safeguard of 
their liberty and independence, and a bond of perpetual union ! 

" To the ardent wishes of this vast assembly I unite my fervent 
prayer to that infinite and awful Being without whose favor all 
human power is but vanity, that he will crown your labor with his 
blessing, and our work with immortality.''' 

As soon as he had ended, the President of the 
United States, to whom Gen. Mercer had presented 
the spade, stepped forward, and, with an animation of 
manner and countenance which showed that his whole 
heart was in the thing, thus addressed the assembly of 
his fellow -citizens : — 

" Friends and Fellow-citizens : It is nearly a full century since 
Berkely, bishop of Cloyne, turning towards this fair land, which we 
now inhabit, the eyes of a prophet, closed a few lines of poetical ia* 
spiration with this memorable prediction — 

"Time's noblest empire is the last :"— 


a prediction which, to those of us whose lot has been cast by Divine 
Providence in these regions, contains not only a precious promise, 
but a solemn injunction of duty, since upon our energies, and upon 
those of our posterity, its fulfilment will depend. For with refer- 
ence to what principle could it be that Berkely proclaimed this, 
the last, to be the noblest empire of time ? It was, as he himself 
declares, on the transplantation of learning arid the arts to America. 
Of learning and the arts. The four first acts — the empires of the 
old world, and of former ages — the Assyrian, the Persian, the 
Grecian, the Roman empires — were empires of conquest, dominions 
of man over man. The empire which his great mind, piercing into 
the darkness of futurity, foretold in America, was the empire of 
learning and the arts, — the dominion of man over himself, and over 
physical nature — acquired by the inspirations of genius, and the 
toils of industry ; not watered with the tears of the widow and the 
orphan ; not cemented in the blood of human victims ; founded not 
in discord, but in harmony,— of which the only spoils are tlie imper- 
fections of nature, and the victory achieved is the improvement of 
the condition of all. Well may this be termed nobler than the 
empire of c inquest, in which man subdues only his fellow-man. 

" To the Hccomplishment of this prophecy, the first necessary 
step was the acquisition of the right of self-government, by the 
people of the British North American Colonies, achieved by the 
Declaration of Independence, and its acknowledgment by the British 
nation. The second was the union of all these colonies under one 
general confederated Government — a task more arduous than that 
of the preceding separation, but at last effected by the present con- 
stitution of the United States. 

" The third step, more arduous still than cither or both the others, 
vas that which we, fellow-citizens, may now congratulate our- 
selves, our country, and the world of man, that it is taken. It is 
ihc adaptation of the powers, physical, moral, and intellectual, of 
this whole Union, to the improvement of its own condition : of its 
moral and political condition, by wise and liberal institutions — by 
the cultivation of the understanding and the heart — by academies, 
schools, and learned institutes — by the pursuit and patronage of 
learning and the arts ; of its physical condition, by associated labor 
to improve the bounties, and to supply the deficiencies of nature ; 
to stem tlie torrent in its course ; to level the mountain with the 


plain ; to disarm and fetter the raging surge of the ocean. Under- 
takings of which the language I now hold is no exaggerated de- 
scription, have become happiiy familiar not only to the conceptions, 
but to the enterprize of our countrymen. That for the commence- 
ment of which we are here assembled is eminent among the num- 
ber. The project contemplates a conquest over physical nature, 
such as has never yet been achieved by man. The wonders of the 
ancient world, the pyramids of Egypt, the Colossus of Rhodes, the 
temple at Ephesus, the mausoleum of Artem.isia, the wall of China, 
sink into insignificance before it :— insignificance in the mass and 
momentum of human labor required for the execution — insignifi- 
cance in comparison of the purposes to be accomplished by the 
work when executed. It is, therefore, a pleasing contemplation to 
those sanguine and patriotic spirits who have so long looked with 
hope to the completion of this undertaking, that it unites the moral 
power and resources — first, of numerous individuals — secondly, of 
the corporate cities of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria — 
thirdly, of the great and powerful States of Pennsylvania, Virginia, 
and Maryland — and lastly, by the subscription authorized at the re- 
cent session of Congress, of the whole Union. 

" Friends and Fellow-laborers. We are informed by the holy 
oracles of truth, that, at the creation of man, male and female, the 
Lord of the universe, their Maker, blessed them, and said unto 
them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue 
It. To subdue the earth was, therefore, one of the first duties as- 
signed to man at his creation ; and now, in his fallen condition, it 
remains among the most excellent of his occupations. To subdue 
the earth is pre-eminently the purpose of the undertaking, to the 
accomplishment of which the first stroke of the spade is now to be 
struck. That it is to be struck by this hand, 1 invite you to wit- 
ness. — [Here the stroke of the spade.]* And in performing this act, 

■ * Attending this action was an incident which produced a greater 
sensation than any other that occurred during the day. The spade 
which the President held, struck a root, which prevented its penetrating 
the earth. Not deterred by trifling obstacles from doing what he had 
deliberately resolved to perforin, Mr. Adams tried it again, with no bet- 
ter success. Thus foiled, he threw down the spade, hastily stripped off 
and laid aside his coat, and went seriously to work. The multitude 
around, and on the hills and trees, who could not hear, because of their 


I call upon you to join me in fervent supplication to Him from whom 
vhat primitive injunction came, tliat he would follow with his bless- 
ing, this joint effort of our great community, to perform his will in 
the subjugation of the earth for the improvement of the condition 
of man — that he would make it one of his chosen instruments for 
the preservation, prosperity, and perpetuity of our Union — that lie 
would have in his holy keeping all the workmen by whose labors it 
is to be completed — that their lives and their health may be pre- 
cious in his sight ; and that they may live to see the work of their 
hands contribute to the comforts and enjoyments of millions of their 

" Friends and brethren : Permit me further to say, that I deem 
the duty, now performed at the request of the President and Direct- 
ors of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, and the Corpora- 
tions of the District of Columbia, one of the most fortunate incidents 
of my life. Though not among the functions of my official station, 
I esteem it as a privilege conferred upon mc by my fellow-citizens 
of the District. Called, in the performance of my service, heretofore 
as one of the representatives of my native commonwealth in the 
Senate, and now as a member of the executive department oif the 
Government, my abode has been among the inhabitants of the 
District longer than at any other spot upon earth. In availing 
myself of this occasion to return to them my thanks for the num- 
berless acts of kindness that I have experienced at their hands, may 
I be allowed to assign it as a motive, operating upon the heart, and 
superadded to my official obligations, for taking a deeper interest in 
their welfare and prosperity. Among the prospects of futurity which 
we may indulge the rational hope of seeing realized by this junction 
of distant waters, that of the auspicious influence which it will exer- 
cise over the fortunes of every portion of this District is one upon 
which my mind dwells with unqualified pleasure. It is my earnest 
prayer that they may not be disappointed. 

" It was observed that the first step towards the accomplishment 
of the glorious destinies of our country was the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. That the second was the union of these States under 
our federative Government. The third is irrevocably fixed by the 

distance from the open space, but could see and understand, observing 
this action, raised a loud and unanimous cheering, which continued for 
some time after Mr. Adams had mastered the difficulty. 


act upon the commencement of which we are now engaged. What 
time more suitable for this operation could have been selected than 
the anniversary of our great national festival ? . What place more 
appropriate from whence to proceed, than that which bears the 
name of the citizen warrior who led our armies in that eventful 
contest to the field, and who first presided as the Chief Magistrate 
of our Union? You know that of this very undertaking he was 
one of the first projectors ; and if in the world of spirits the 
afiections of our mortal existence still retain their sway, may we not, 
without presumption, imagine that he looks down with complacency 
and delight upon the scene before and around us ? 

" But while indulging in a sentiment of joyous exultation at the 
benefits to be derived from this labor of our friends and neighbors, let 
us not forget that the spirit of internal improvement is catholic and 
liberal. We hope and believe that its practical advantages will 
be extended to every individual in our Union. In praying for the 
blessing of heaven upon our task, we ask it with equal zeal and 
sincerity upon every other similiar work in this confederacy ; and 
particularly upon that which, on this same day, and perhaps at this 
very hour, is commencing from a neighboring city. It is one of the 
happiest characteristics in the principle of internal improvement, 
that the success of one great enterprise, instead of counteracting, 
gives assistance to the execution of another. May they increase 
and multiply, till, in the sublime language of inspiration, every valley 
shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low ; the 
crooked straight, the rough places plain. Thus shall the prediction 
of the bishop of Cloyne be converted from prophecy into history ; 
and, in the virtues and fortunes of our posterity, the last shall prove 
the noblest empire of time." 

The administration of Mr. Adams, from the first day 
of its existence, met with an opposition more deter- 
mined, bitter, and unscrupulous than any which has 
ever assailed a President of the United States. It evi- 
dently was not an opposition based on well-grounded 
objections to hi& principles or his measures. Before an 
opportunity had been given fairly and fully to develop 


his policy as President, the opposition had taken its 
stand, and boldly declared that his administration should 
be overthrown at every hazard, whatever miojht be its 
policy, its integrity, or its success. A favorite candi- 
date, having certain elements of immense popularity 
with a large class of people, and supported with enthu- 
siasm by his immediate friends, had been defeated in 
the previous presidential canvass, at a moment when it 
was thought triumphant success had been secured. 
Under the exasperation and excitement of this over- 
throw, it was determined that his more fortunate rival 
should be displaced at the earliest moment, at whatever 
cost, though his administration should prove unrivalled 
in patriotism, and the successful promotion of the gen- 
eral welfare. 

The opposition did not fail to seize upon certain 
points, which, in the exercise of a due degree of adroit- 
ness, yielded an ample material for popular declamation 
and censure. The fact that Mr. Adams had a less 
number of electoral votes than Gen. Jackson was 
greatly dwelt upon as positive evidence that the will 
of the people had been violated in the election of the 
former to the presidency — although it has since been 
satisfactorily ascertained that Mr. Adams had a larger 
number of the primary votes of the people than his 
prominent opponent. 

The charge of " bargain and corruption," alleged 
against Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay, was also used as 
an effective weapon against the former, in the sue- 


ceeding presidential canvass. Notwithstanding the 
charge had been promptly and emphatically denied by 
the parties implicated, and proof in its support fearlessly 
challenged — notwithstanding every attempt at evidence 
to fix it upon them had most signally failed, and in- 
volved those engaged therein in utter confusion of face 
— yet so often and so boldly was the charge repeated 
by designing men, so generally and continually was it 
reiterated by a venal press from one end of the Union 
to the other, that a majority of the people was driven 
into its belief, and the fate of Mr. Adams's administra- 
tion was sealed against him. Subsequent develop- 
ments have shown, that, in the annals of political war- 
fare, there never was a charge uttered against eminent 
public men, so thoroughly destitute of the shadow of 
truth as this. But it answered the immediate ends of 
its authors. Posterity will do ample justice to all the 
parties in this transaction. 

Another event which operated seriously to the disad- 
vantage of Mr. Adams, was the amalgamation of the 
strong Crawford party with the supporters of Gen. 
Jackson. This combination threw obstacles in the 
way of the administration which were insurmountable. 
It enabled the opposition to send a majority of members 
to the twentieth Congress, both in the Senate and the 
House of Representatives. The test of the strength 
of parties in the House took place on the election of 
Speaker. Andrew Stevenson, of Virginia, was elected 
on the first ballot, by a majority of ten votes over John 




W. Taylor, the administration candidate. Mr. Steven- 
son was a supporter of Mr. Crawford in 1824. His 
election to the Speaker's chair clearly indicated the 
union of the difTcrent sections of the opposition, and 
foreshadowed too evidently the overthrow of the ad- 
ministration of Mr. Adams. 

In this state of things, with a majority of Congress 
against him, the President was deprived of the oppor- 
tunity of caiTying into execution many important 
measures which were highly calculated to promote the 
permanent benefit of the country, and which could not 
have failed to receive the approbation of the people. A 
majority of all the committees of both Houses were 
against him ; and for the first time an administration 
was found without adequate strength in Congress to 
support its measures. In several instances the reports 
of committees partook of a strong partisan character, 
in violation of all rules of propriety and correct legis- 

The first session of the twentieth Congress, which 
was held immediately preceding the presidential cam- 
paign of 1828, was characterized by proceedings, which, 
at this day, all will unite in deciding as highly repre- 
hensible. Instead of attending strictly to the legitimate 
business of the session, much of the time was spent in 
discussions involving the merits of the opposing candi- 
dates for the presidency, and designed to have an ex- 
press bearing on the election then near at hand. Of 
this character was a resolution introduced into the 


House of Representatives, on the 8th of January, 1828, 
by Mr. Hamilton, a supporter of Gen. Jackson, to in- 
quire into the expediency of having a historical picture 
of the battle of New Orleans painted, and placed in 
the rotunda of the Capitol. This was followed by a 
resolution, introduced by Mr. Sloane, an administration 
member, requiring the Secretary of War to furnish the 
House with a copy of the proceedings of a court- 
martial ordered by Gen. Jackson, in 1814, for the 
trial of certain Tennessee militiamen, who were con- 
demned and shot. 

At this session of Congress may be dated the intro- 
duction of a practice which has become an evil of the 
greatest magnitude in the present day. Reference is 
had to the custom of making the halls of Congress a 
mere arena, where, instead of attending to the legiti- 
mate business of legislating for the benefit of the coun- 
try at large, political gladiators spend much of their 
time in wordy contests, designed solely for the promo 
tion of personal or party purposes, to the neglect of the 
interests of their constituents. From this has grown 
the habit of speech-making by the hour, on topics 
trivial in their nature, in which the people have not 
the slightest interest, and which, quite often, are totally 
foreign to tlie subject ostensibly in debate. Valuable 
time and immense treasures are thus squandered to no 
profitable purpose. Should not this evil be abated ? 

The stern integrity of Mr. Adams, and his unyield- 
ing devotion to principle, were made to operate against 


him. Had he chosen to turn the vast influence at hfs 
command to the promotion of personal ends — had he 
unscrupulously ejected from office all political opposers, 
and supplied their places with others who would have 
labored, with all the means at their disposal, in his 
behalf — little doubt can be entertained that he could 
have secured his re-election. But he utterly refused 
to resort to such measures. Believing he was pro- 
moted to his high position not for his individual benefit, 
but to advance the welfare of the entire country, his 
view of duty was too elevated and pure to allow him 
to desecrate the trust reposed in him to personal ends. 
Hence the influence derived from the patronage of the 
General Government was turned against the admin- 
istration rather than in its behalf; and the singular 
spectacle was presented of men exerting every nerve 
to overthrow Mr. Adams, who were dependent upon 
him for the influence they wielded against him, and 
for their very means of subsistence. 

A hotly contested political campaign ensued in the 
fall of 1828. In view of the peculiar combination of 
circumstances, and of the means resorted to by the 
opposing parties to secure success, the result could be 
foreseen with much certainty. Gen. Jackson was 
elected President of the United States, and was inau- 
gurated on the 4th of March, 1829. 

Thus closed the administration of John Quincy 
Adams. At the call of his country he entered upon 
the highest station in its gift. With a fidelity and 


uprightness which have not been surpassed, he dis- 
charged his important trust to the lasting benefit of all 
the vital interests which tend to build up a great and 
prosperous people. And at the call of his country he 
relinquished the honors of office, and willingly retired 
to the private walks of life. 

No man can doubt that Mr. iVdams could look back 
upon his labors while President with the utmost satis- 
faction. '* During his administration new and in- 
creased activity was imparted to those powers vested 
in the Federal Government for the development of the 
resources of the country, and the public revenue was 
liberally expended in prosecuting those liberal measures, 
to which the sanction of Congress had been delib- 
erately given, as the settled policy of the Government. 

" More than one million of dollars had been expended 
in enlarging and maintaining the light-house establish- 
ment — half a million in completing the public build- 
ings — two millions in erecting arsenals, barracks, and 
furnishing the national armories — nearly the same 
amount had been expended in permanent additions to 
the naval establishment — upwards of three millions 
had been devoted to fortifying the sea-coast — and 
more than four millions expended in improving the 
internal communications between different parts of the 
country, and in procuring information, by scientific 
surveys, concerning its capacity for further improve- 
ment. Indeed, more had been directly effected by the 

aid of Government in this respect, during Mr. Adams' 
J* 15 


administration, 'than during the administrations of all 
his predecessors. Other sums, exceeding a million, 
had been appropriated for objects of a lasting char- 
acter, and not belonging to the annual expense of the 
Government ; making in the whole nearly fourteen 
millions of dollars expended for the permanent benefit 
of the country, during this administration. 

" At the same time the interest on the public debt 
was punctually paid, and the debt itself was in a con- 
stant course of reduction, having been diminished 
830,373,188 during his administration, and leaving due 
on the 1st of Januarv, 1829, $58,362,130. While 
these sums were devoted to increasinn- the resources 
and improving the condition of the country, and in 
discharging its pecuniary obligations, those claims 
which were derived from what are termed the imper- 
fect obligations of gratitude and humanity were not 

" More than five millions of dollars were appropri- 
ated to solace the declining years of the surviving 
officers of the Revolution ; and a million and a half 
expended in extinguishing the Indian title, and defray- 
ing the expense of the removal beyond the Mississippi 
of such tribes as were unqualified for a residence near 
civilized communities, and in promoting the civiliza- 
tion of those who, relying on the faith of the United 
States, preferred to remain on the lands which were 
the abodes of their fathers. 

" In the condition which we have described — in 


peace with all the world, with an increasing revenue 
and with a surplus of 85,125,638 in the public treasury, 
— the administration of the Government of the United 
States was surrendered by Mr. Adams on the 3d of 
March, 1829.''* 

The '^Georgia Constitutionalist" thus describes Mr. 
Adams' retirement from office : — ''Mr. Adams is said 
to be in good health and spirits. The manner in 
which this gentleman retired from office is so replete 
with propriety and dignity, that we are sure history 
will record it as a laudable example to those who shall 
hereafter be required by the sovereign people to descend 
from exalted stations. It was a great matter with the 
ancients to die v/ith decency, and there are some of 
our own day whose deaths are more admirable than 
their lives. Mr. Adams' deportment in the Presidency 
was lofty and proud ; but the smile with which he 
throws aside the trappings of power, and the graceful 
propriety with which he takes leave of patronage and 
place, are truly commendable." 

* American Annual Register. 







Few public men in any country have possessed 
attainments more varied than were those of Mr. 
Adams. Every department of literature and science 
received more or less of his attention — every path of 
human improvement seems to have been explored by 
him. As a statesman, he was unrivalled in the pro- 
fundit}^ of his knowledge. His state papers — given to 
the world while Minister, Secretary of State, President, 
and Member of Congress — his numerous addresses, 
orations, and speeches, are astonishing in number, and 
in the learning they display.* No man was more 

* Aside from his state papers, official correspondence, and speeches, 
which would make many volumes, the Literary World gives the follow- 
ing list of the published writings of Mr. Adams: — 

'• 1. Oration at Boston, 1793 ; 2. Answer to Paine's Rights of Man, 
1793 ; 3. Address to the 3Iembers of the Massachusetts Charitable Fire 
Society; 4. Letters on Silesia; 5. Letters on Silesia, 1804; G. Inau- 
gural Oration at Harvard College, 1806; 7. Letters to H. G. Otis, in 
reply to Timothy Pickering, 1808 ; 8. Review of the Works of Fisher 
Ames, 1809 j 9. Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory, two volumes, 1810; 


familiar with modern history, with diplomacy and 
international law, and the politics of America and 
Europe for the last two or three centuries. 

In other departments he appeared equally at home. 
His acquaintance was familiar with the classics, and 
several modern languages. In oratory, rhetoric, and 
the various departments of belles lettres, his attain- 
ments were of more than an ordinary character. His 
commentaries on Desdemona, and others of Shak- 
speare^s characters, show that he was no mean critic, 
in the highest walks of literature, and in all that pertains 
to human character. 

The following interesting account of an interview 
with ex-President Adams, by a southern gentleman, in 

10. Report on Weights and Measures, 1821; 11, Oration at Washing- 
ton, 1821 ; 12. Duplicate Letters ; the Fislieries and the Mississippi, 
1822; 13. Oration to the citizens of Q,uincy, 1831; 14. Oration on the 
Death of James Monroe, 1831 ; 15. Dermot McMorrogh, or the Con- 
quest of Ireland, 1832 ; 16. Letters to Edward Livingston, on Free 
Masonry, 1833 ; 17. Letters to William L. Stone, on the entered appren- 
tice's oath, 1833 ; 18. Oration on the Life and Character of Lafayette, 
1835; 19. Oration on the Life and Character of James Madison, 1836 ; 
20. The Characters of Shakspeare, 1837; 21. Oration delivered at 
Newburyport, 1837; 22. Letters to his Constituents of the Twelflh 
Congressional District of Massachusetts, 1837 ; 23. The Jubilee of the 
Constitution, 1839 ; 24. A Discourse on Education, delivered at Brain- 
tree, 1840 ; 25. An Address at the Observatory, Cincinnati, 1843. 

Among the unpublished works of Mr. Adams, besides his Diary, which 
extends over half a century, and would probably make some two dozen 
stout octavos, are Memoirs of the earlier Public and Private Life of 
John Adams, second President of the United States, in three volumes ; 
Reports and Speeches on Public Affairs ; Poems, including two new 
cantos of Dermot McMorrogh, a Translation of Oberon, and numerous 
Essays and Discourses " 


1834, affords some just conceptions of the versatility 
3f his genius, and the profoundness of his erudition : — 

" Yesterday, accompanied by my friend T., I paid a visit to the 
/■enerable ex-President, at his residence in Quincy. A violent rain 
tietting in as soon, as we arrived, gave us from five to nine o'clock 
*o listen to the learning of this man of books. His residence is a 
plain, very plain one : the room into which we were ushered, (the 
drawing-room, I suppose,) was furnished in true republican style. 
It is probably of ancient construction, as I perceived two beams 
projecting from the low ceiling, in the manner of the beams in a 
ship's cabin. Prints commemorative of political events, and the old 
family portraits, hung about the room ; common straw matting 
covered the floor, and two candlesticks, bearing sperm candles, 
ornamented the mantle-piece. The personal appearance of the ex- 
President himself corresponds with the simplicity of his .furniture. 
He resembles rather a substantial, well-fed farmer, than one who 
has wielded the destinies of this mighty Confederation, and been 
bred in the ceremony and etiquette of an European Court. In factj 
he appears to possess none of that sternness of character which 
you would suppose to belong to one a large part of whose life has 
been spent in political warfare, or, at any rate, amidst scenes requir- 
ing a vast deal of nerve and inflexibility. 

" Mrs. Adams is described in a word — a lady. She has all the 
warmth of heart and ease of manner that mark the character of the 
southern ladies, and from which it would be no easy matter to dis- 
tinguish Jier. 

" The ex-President was the chief talker. He spoke with infinite 
ease, drawing upon his vast resources with the certainty of one 
who has his lecture before him ready written. The whole of his 
conversation, which steadily he maintained for nearly four hours, 
was a continued stream of light. Well contented was I to be a 
listener. His subjects were the architecture of the middle ages ; the 
Btained glass of that period ; sculpture, embracing monuments par- 
ticularly. On this subject his opinion of Mrs. Nightingale's monu- 
ment in Westminster Abbey, differs from all others that I have 
eeen or heard. He places it above every other in the Abbey, and 
observed in relation to it, that the spectator * saw nothing else.* 
Milton, Shakspeare, Shenstone, Pope, Byron, and Southey were in 


turn remarked upon. He gave Pope a wonderfully high character, 
and remarked that one of his chief beauties was the skill exhibited 
in varying the cesural pause — quoting from various parts of his 
author, to illustrate his remarks more fully. He said very little on 
the politics of the country. He spoke at considerable length of 
Sheridan and Burke, both o whom he had heard, and could describe 
with the most graphic effect. He also spoke of Junius ; and it is 
remarkable that he should place him so far above the bOvSt of his 
contemporaries. He spoke of him as a bad man ; but maintained, as 
a writer, that he had never been equalled. 

" The conversation never flagged for a moment ; and on the 
whole, I shall remember my visit to Quincy, as amongst the most 
instructive and pleasant I ever passed." 

As a theologian, Mr. Adams was familiar with the 
tenets of the various denominations which compose the 
great Clu'istian family, and acquainted with the prin- 
cipal arguments by which they support their peculiar 
views. While entertaining decided opinions of his 
own, which he did not hesitate to avow on all proper 
occasions, he was tolerant of the sentiments of all who 
differed from him. He deemed it one of the most 
sacred rights of every American citizen, and of every 
human being, to worship God according to the dic- 
tates of his own conscience, without let or hindrance, 
our laws equally tolerating, and equally protecting 
every sect. 

In the most abstruse sciences he was equally at 
home. His report to Congress, while Secretary of 
State, on Weights and Measures was very elaborate, 
and evinced a deep and careful research into this im- 
portant but most difficult subject. That report was 


of the utmost value. Adopting the philosophical and 
unchangeable basis of the modern French system of 
mensuration, an arc of the meridian, it laid the founda- 
tion for the accurate manipulations and scientific cal- 
culations of the late Professor Hassler, which have 


furnished an unerrinor standard of Wein;hts and Meas- 
ures to the people of this country. In a very learned 
notice of " Measures, Weights, and Money," by Col. 
Pasley, Royal Engineer, F. R. S., published in London, 
in 1834, he pays the following well-merited compliment 
to Mr. Adams : — 

" I cannot pass over the labors of former writers, without ac- 
knowledging in particular, the benefit which I have derived, whilst 
investigating the historical part of my subject, from a book printed 
at Washington, in 1821, as an official Report on Weights and 
Measures, made by a distinguished American statesman, Mr. John 
Quincy Adams, to the Senate of the United States, of which he was 
afterwards President. This author has thrown more light into the 
history of our old English weights and measures, than all former 
writers*on the same subject. His views of historical facts, even 
where occasionally in opposition to the reports of our own Par- 
liamentary Committees, appear to me to be the most correct. For 
my own part, 1 confess that I do not think I could have seen my 
way into the history of English weights and measures, in the feudal 
ages, without his guidance." 

To his other accomplishments Mr. Adams added 
that of a poet. His pretensions in this department 
were humble, yet many of his productions, thrown off 
hastily, no doubt, during brief respites from severer 
labors, possess no little merit. A few specimens will 
not be uninteresting to the reader. 


The following stanzas are from a hymn by Mr. 
Adams for the celebration of the 4th of July, 1831, 
at Q,uin;;y, Mass. : — 

" Sing to the Lord a song of praise ; 

Assemble, ye who love his name ; 
Let congregated millions raise 

Triumphant glory's loud acclaim. 
From earth's remotest regions come ; 

Come, greet your Maker, and your King ; 
With harp, with timbrel, and with drum. 

His praise let hill and valley sing. 

" Go forth in arms ; Jehovah reigns ; 

Their graves let foul oppressors find ; 
Bind all their sceptred kings in chains ; 

Their peers with iron fetters bind. 
Then to the Lord shall praise ascend; 

Then all mankind, with one accord, 
And freedom's voice, till time shall end. 

In pealing anthems, praise the Lord." 

The lines which follow were inscribed to the sun- 
dial under the window of the hall of the House of 
Representatives, at Washington ; — 

" Thou silent herald of Time's silent flight ! 

Say, coiildst thou speak, what warning voice were thine 1 

Shade, who canst only show how others shine ! 
Dark, sullen witness of resplendent light 
In day's broad glare, and when the noontide bright 

Of laughing fortune sheds the ray divine, 

Thy ready favors cheer us — but decline 
The clouds of morning and the gloom of night. 
Yet are thy counsels faithful, just and wise ; 

They bid us sieze tlie moments as they pass 


Snatch the retrieyeless sunbeam as it flies, 

Nor lose one sand of life's revolving: glass — 
Aspiring still, with enerfjy sublime, 
By virtuous deeds to give eternity to Time." 

It is seldoin that lines more pure and beautiful can 
be found, than the following on the death of children :— 

" Sure, to the mansions of the blest 
When infant innocence ascends, 
Some angel brighter than the rest 
The s])otless spirit's flight attends. 

" On wings of ecstacy they rise, 

Beyond wh^re worlds material roll, 
Till some fair sister of the skies 
Receives the unpolluted soul. 

" There at the Almighty Father's hand. 
Nearest the throne of living light. 
The choirs of infant scraj)hs stand, 

And dazzling shine, where all are bright. 

" The ineX'tinguishable beam. 
With dui«t united at our birth. 
Sheds a more dim, discolored gleam, 


The more it lingers upon earth : 

" Closed is the dark abode of clay. 
The stream of glory faintly burns. 
Nor unobscurcd the lucid ray 
To its own native fount returns : 

" But when the Lord of mortal breath 
Decrees his bounty to resume. 
And points the silent shaft of death, 
Which speeds an infant to the tomb, 


" No passion fierce, no low desire, 

Has quenched the radiance of the flame ; 
Back to its God the living fire 
Returns, unsullied, as it came." 

The heart which could turn aside from the stern 
conflicts of the political world, and utter sentiments so 
chaste and tender, must have been the residence of the 
sweetest and noblest emotions of man. 

Having taken final leave, as he believed, of the duties 
of public life, and retired to the beloved shades of 
Quincy, it w^as the desire and intention of Mr. Adams 
to devote the remainder of his days to the peaceful 
pursuits of literature. It had long been his purpose, 
whenever opportunity should offer, to write a history of 
the life and times of his venerated father, *' the elder 
Adams." His heart was fixed on this design, and 
some introductory labors had been commenced. But 
an overruling Providence had a widely different work 
in preparation for him. 

If Mr. Adams had been permitted to follow the bent 
of his own feelings at that time — if he had continued in 
the retirement he had so anxiously sought as a rest 
from the toils of half a century — the brightest pnge of 
his wonderful history would have remained forever un- 
written. He would have been remembered as a dis- 
creet and trusty diplomatist, an able statesman, a suc- 
cessful politician, a capable President, and an honest 
a?vi honorable man ! This would, indeed, have been 


a measure of renown with which most men would have 
been content, and which few of the most fortunate sons 
of earth can ever attain. He was abundantly satisfied 
with it. He asked for nothing more — he expected 
nothing more this side the grave. But It was not 
enough ! Fame was wreathing brighter garlands, 
a more worthy chaplet, for his brow. A higher, nobler 
task was before him, than any enterprize which had 
claimed his attention. His lonf' and distin<Tuished ca- 
reer — his varied and invaluable experience — had been 
but a preparation to enable him to enter upon the real 
work of life for which he was raised up. 

The world did not yet know John Quincy Adams 
Long as he had been before the public, the mass had 
thus far failed to read him aright. Hitherto circum- 
stances had placed him in collision with aspiring men. 
He stood in their way to station and power. There 
was a motive to conceal his virtues and magnify his 
faults. He had never received from his opposers the 
smallest share of credit really due to him for patriot- 
ism, self-devotion, and purity of purpose. Even his 
most devoted friends did not fully appreciate these 
qualities in him. During his long public service, he 
had ever been an object of hatred and vituperation to 
a class of minds utterly incapable of estimating his 
talents or comprehending his high principles of action. 
In the heat of political struggles, no abuse, no defama- 
tion, were too great to heap upon him. Misrepresent- 
ation, duplicity, malignity, did their worst. Did he 


Utter a patriotic sentiment, it was charged to hypocrisy 
and political cunning. Did he do a noble deed, worthy 
to be recorded in letters of gold— sacrificing party 
predilections and friendship to support the interest of 
his country, and uphold the reputation and dignity of 
its Government— it was attributed to a wretched pan- 
dering for the emoluments of office. Did he endeavor 
to exercise the powers entrusted to him as President 
in such a manner as to preserve peace at home and 
abroad, develope the internal resources of the nation, 
improve facilities for transportation and travel, protect 
and encourage the industry of the country, and in 
every department promote the permanent prosperity 
and welfare of the people— it was allowed to be nothing 
more than the arts of an intriguer, seeking a re- 
election to the Presidency. Yea, it was declared in 
advance, that, " if his administration should be as pure 
as the angels in heaven," it should be overthrown. 
Did he exhibit the plain simplicity of a true republican 
in his dress and manners, and economy in all his 
expenditures, it was attributed to parsimony and mean- 
ness ! A majority of his countrymen had been de- 
* ceived as to his principles and character, and sacrificed 
him politically on the altar of prejudice and party spirit. 
Throughout his life he had ever been a lover of man 
and of human freedom— the best friend of his country 
—the most faithful among the defenders of its insti- 
tutions— a sincere republican, and a true man. But 
blinded bv Dolitical prejudice, a large portion of his 


fellow-citizens refused the boon of credit for these 
qualities. It remained for another stage of his life, 
another field of display, to correct them of this error, 
and to vindicate his character. It was requisite that 
he should step down from his high position, disrobe 
himself of office, power and patronage, place himself 
beyond the reach of the remotest suspicion of a desire 
for political preferment and emolument, to satisfy the 
world that John Quincy Adams had from the begin- 
ning, been a pure-hearted patriot, and one of the 
noblest sons of the American Confederacy. His new 
career was to furnish a luminous commentary on his 
past life, and to convince the most sceptical, of the 
justice of his claim to rank among the highest and best 
of American patriots. Placed beyond the reach of 
any gift of office from the nation, \vith nothing to hope 
for, and nothing ti> fear in this respect, he was to write 
his name in imperishable characters, so high on the 
tablets of his country's history and fame, as to be be- 
yond the utmost reach of malignity or suspicion ! The 
door which led to this closing act of his dramatic life, 
was soon opened. 

On returning to Quincy, one of the first things 
which received the attention of Mr. Adams, was the 
discharge of a filial duty towards his deceased parents, 
in the erection of a monument to their memory. The 
elder Adams in his will, among other liberal bequests, 
had left a large legacy to aid in the erection o( a new 


Unitarian church in Quinc}^ The edifice was com- 
pleted, and ex- President J. Q. Adams caused the monu- 
ment to his father and mother to be erected within the 
walls. It was a plain and simple design, consisting of a 
tablet, having recessed pilasters at the sides, with a base 
moulding and cornice ; the whole supported by trusses 
at the base. The material of which it was made was 
Italian marble ; and the whole was surmounted by a 
fine bust of John Adams, from the chisel of Greenough, 
the American artist, then at Rome. The inscription, 
one of the most feeling, appropriate, and classical 
specimens extant, was as follows : — 


D. O. M.* 

Beneath these Walls 

Are deposited the Mortal Remains of 


Son of John and Susanna (Boyalston) Adams, 

Second President of the United States. 

Born 19-30 October, 1735. . 

On the fourth of July, 177G, 

He pledged his Life, Fortune, and Sacred Honor 


On the third of September, 1783, 

He affixed his Seal to the definitive Treaty with Great Britain, 

Which acknowledged that Independence, 

And consummated the redemption of his pledge. 

On the fourth of July, 1826, 

He was summoned 

To the Independence of Immortality, 


This House will bear witness to his Piety : 

This Town, his Birth-place, to his Munificence : 

History to his Patriotism : 

Posterity to the Depth and Compass of his Mind. 

♦ Deoy Optimo^ Maximo— Xo God, the Best and Greatest. 


At his side 

Sleeps till the Trump shall sound, 


His beloved and only Wife, 

Daughter of William and Elizabeth (Quincy) Smith. 

In every relation of Life, a pattern 

Of Fihal, Conjugal, Maternal, and Social Virtue. 

Born 11-2-2 November, 1744. 

Deceased 28 October, 1818, 

Aged 74. 

Married 25 October, 1764. 

During a union of more than half a century, 

They sur\'ived, in Harmony of Sentiment, Principle and Affection, 

The Tempests of Civil Commotion ; 

Meeting undaunted, and surmounting 

The Terrors and Trials of that Revolution 

Which secured the Freedom of their Country ; 

Improved the Condition of their Times; 

And brightened the Prospects of Futurity 

To the Race of Man upon Earth. 


From hves thus spent thy earthly Duties learn ; 
From Fancy's Dreams to active Virtue turn : 
Let Freedom. Friendship, Faith thy Soul engage, 
And serve, like them, thy Country and thy Age." 

Mr. Adams had remained in the retii-^ment of Quincy 
but little more than a single year, when the following 
paragraph appeared in the public prints throughout the 
country : — 

" Mr. Adams, late President of the United States, is named as a 
candidate for Congress, from the district of Massachusetts now 
represented by Mr. Richardson, who declines a re-election." 

It would be difficult to describe the surprise created ' 
by this announcement, in every quarter of the Union. 


Speculation Vv^as at fault. Would he accept or reject 
such a nomination ? By a large class it was deemed 
impossible that one who had occupied positions so ele- 
vated — -who had receis^ed the highest honors the nation 
could bestow upon him — would consent to serve the 
people of a single district, in a capacity so humble, 
comparatively, as a Representative in Congress. Such 
a thing was totally unheard of. The people, however, 
of the Plymouth congressional district in which he re- 
sided, met and duly nominated him for the proposed 
office. All doubts as to his acceptance of the nomina- 
tion were speedily dispelled by the appearance of a 
letter from Mr. Adams, in the Columbian Sentinel, 
Oct., 15, 1830, in which he says : — 

" If my fellow-citizens of the district should think proper to call 
for such services as it may be in my power to render them, by rep- 
resenting them in the twenty-second Congress, I am not aware of 
any sound principle which would justify me in withholding them. 
To the manifestations of confidence on the part of those portions 
of the people who, at two several meetings, have seen fit to present 
my name for the suffrages of the district, I am duly and deeply 

In due time the election was held, and Mr. Adams 
was returned to Congress, by a vote nearly unanimous. 
From that time forward for seventeen years, and to the 
hour of his death, he occupied the post of Representa- 
tive in Congress from the Plymouth district, in Massa- 
chusetts, with unswerving fidelity, and distinguished 

There can be no doubt that many of the best friendi 
K 16 


of Mr. Adams seriously questioned the propriety of his 
appearing as a Representative in the halls of Congress. 
It was a step never before taken by an ex- President of 
the United States. They apprehended it might be de- 
rogatory to his dignity, and injurious to his reputation 
and fame, to enter into the strifes, and take part in the 
litigations and contentions which characterize the na- 
tional House of Representatives. Moreover, they were 
fearful that in measuring himself, as he necessarily must, 
in the decline of life, with younger men in the prime 
of their days, who were urged by the promptings of 
ambition to tax every capacity of their nature, he might 
injure his well-earned reputation for strength of intel- 
lect, eloquence and statesmanship. But these mis- 
givings were groundless. In the House of Repre- 
sentatives, as in all places where Mr. Adams was 
associated with others, he arose immediately to the 
head of his compeers. So far from suffering in his 
reputation, it was immeasurably advanced during his 
long congressional career. New powers were devel- 
oped — new traits of character were manifested— new 
and repeated instances of devotion to principle and the 
rights of man were made known — which added a 
brighter lustre to his already widely-extended fame. 
He exhibited a fund of knowledge so vast and profound 
— a familiarity so perfect with nearly every topic which 
claimed the attention of Congress — he could bring forth 
from his well-replenished storehouse of memory so vast 
an array of facts, shedding light upon subjects deeply 



obscured to others— displayed such readiness and power 
in debate, pouring out streams of purest eloquence, or 
launching forth the most scathing denunciations when 
he deemed them called for— that his most bitter op- 
posers, while trembling before his sarcasm, and dread- 
ing his assaults, could not but grant him the meed of 
their highest admiration. Well did he deserve the 
title conferred upon him by general consent, of " the 
Old Man Eloquent !" 

Had Mr. Adams followed the bent of his own in- 
clinations—had he consulted simply his personal ease 
and comfort— he would probably never have appeared 
again in public life. Having received the highest dis 
tinctions his country could bestow upon him, blessec* 
with an ample fortune, and possessing all the elements 
of domestic comfort, he would have passed the evening 
of his earthly sojourn in peaceful tranquillity, at the 
mansion of his fathers in Quincy. But it was one of 
the sacred rules in this distinguished statesman's life, te 
yield implicit obedience to the demands of duty. His 
immediate neighbors and fellow-citizens called him to 
their service in the national councils. He was con- 
scious of the possession of talents, knowledge, experi- 
ence, and all the qualifications which would enable 
him to become highly useful, not only in acting as the 
representative of his direct constituents, but in pro- 
moting the welfare of our common country. This 
conviction once becoming fixed in his mind, decided 
his course. He felt he had no choice left but to com- 


ply unhesitatingly with the demand which had been 
made upon his patriotism. In adopting this resolution 
— in consenting, after having been once at the head of 
the National Government, to assume again the labors 
of public life in a subordinate station, wholly divested 
of power and patronage, urged by no influence but the 
claims of duty, governed by no motive but a simple 
desire to serve his country and promote the well-being 
of his fellow-man — Mr. Adams presented a spectacle of 
moral sublimity unequalled in the annals of nations ! 

For many years Mr. Adams was a member, and 
one of the Vice Presidents, of the American Bible 
Society. In reply to an invitation to attend its anni- 
versary in 1830, he wrote the following letter : — 

" Sir : — Your letter of the 22d of March was duly received ; and 
while regreting my inability to attend personally at the celebration 
of the anniversary of the institution, on the 13th of next month, I 
pray you, sir, to be assured of the gratification which I have 
experienced in learning the success which has attended the benevo- 
lent exertions of the American Bible Society. 

" In the decease of Judge Washington, they have lost an able 
and valuable associate, whose direct co-operation, not less than his 
laborious and exemplary life, contributed to promote the cause of 
the Redeemer. Yet not for him, nor for themselves by the loss of 
him, are they called to sorrow as without hope ; for lives like his 
shine but as purer and brighter lights in the world, after tlie lamp 
which fed them is extinct, than before. 

" The distribution of Bibles, if the simplest, is not the least 
efficacious of the means of extending the blessings of the Gospel 
to the remotest corners of the earth ; for the Comforter is in the 
sacred volume : and among the receivers of that million of copies 
distributed by the Society, who shall number the multitudes 


awakened thereby, with good will to man in their hearts, and with 
the song of the Lamb upon their lips ? 

" The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Who- 
ever believes in the divine inspiration of the holy Scriptures, must 
hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. 
Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of 
mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to 
be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the 
Bible proceed and prosper, till the Lord shall have made ' bare his 
holy arm in the eyes of all the nations ; and all the ends of the 
earth shall see the salvation of our God.' 

" With many respects to the Board of Managers, please to accept 
the good wishes of your friend and fellow-citizen, 

" John Quincy Adams." 

On the 4th of July, 1831, at half past three o'clock 
in the afternoon, the venerable James Monroe, fifth 
President of the United States, departed life, aged 73 
years. He died at the residence of his son-in-law, 
Samuel L. Gouverneur, Esq., in the city of New York. 
His decease had been for some days expected ; but 
life lingered until the anniversary of his country's 
independence, when his spirit took its departure to a 
better world. Throughout the United States, honors 
were paid to his memory by hoisting of flags at half 
mast, the tolling of bells, firing of minute guns, the 
passing of resolutions, and delivery of eulogies. He 
was, emphatically, a great and good man, respected and 
beloved by the people of all parties, without exception. 
There are few instances in the historv of the world, of 
more remarkable coincidences than the death of three 
Presidents of the United States, who took most promi- 
nent parts in proclaiming and achieving the independ- 


ence of our country, on the anniversary of the day 
when the declaration of that independence was made to 
the world. The noise of the firing of cannon, in cele* 
brating the day, caused the eyes of the dying Monroe to 
open inquiringly. When the occasion of these rejoic- 
ings was communicated to him, a look of intelligence 
indicated that he understood the character of the day. 
At this anniversary of our National Independence, 
Mr. Adams delivered an oration before the citizens of 
Quincy. It was an able and eloquent production. 
The following were the concluding paragraphs. In 
reference to nullification, which was threatened by 
some of the Southern States, he said : — 

" The event of a conflict in arms, between the Union and one of 
its members, whether terminating in victory or defeat, would be but 
an alternative of calamity to all. In the holy records of antiquity, 
we have two examples of a confederation ruptured by the sever- 
ance of its members, one of which resulted, after three desperate 
battles, in the extermination of the seceding, tribe. And the vic- 
torious people, instead of exulting in shouts of triumph, came to the 
house of God, and abode there till even, before God.; and lifted up 
their voices, and wept sore, and said, — O Lord God of Israel why is 
this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to-day one tribe lack- 
ing in Israel? The other was a successful example of resistance 
against tyrannical taxation, and severed forever the confederacy, 
the fragments forming separate kingdoms ; and from that day their 
history presents an unbroken series of disastrous alliances, and 
exterminating wars — of assassinations, conspiracies, revolts, and 
rebellions, until both parts of the confederacy sunk into tributary 
servitude to the nations around them ; till the countrymen of David 
and Solomon hung their harps upon the willows of Babylon, and 
were totally lost amidst the multitudes of the Chaldean and Assyrian 
monarchies, ' the most despised portion of their slav<3s' 

" In these mournful memorials of their fate, we may behold the 


sure, too sure prognostication of our own, from the hour when force 
shall be substituted for deliberation, in the settlement of our con- 
stitutional questions. This is the deplorable alternative — the extir- 
pation of the seceding member, or the never-ceasing struggle of 
two rival confederacies, ultimately bending the neck of both under 
the yoke of foreign domination, or the despotic sovereignty of a 
conqueror at home. May heaven avert the omen ! The destinies, 
not only of our posterity, but of the human race, &re at stake. 

" Let no such melancholy forebodings intrude upon the festivities 
of this anniversary. Serene skies and balmy breezes are not con- 
genial to the climate of freedom. Progressive improvement in the 
condition of man, is apparently the purpose of a superintending 
Providence. That purpose vail not be disappointed. In no delu- 
sion of national vanity, but with a feeling of profound gratitude to 
the God of our fathers, let us indulge in the cheering hope and be- 
lief, that our country and her people have been selected as instru- 
ments for preparing and maturing much of the good yet in reserve 
for the welfare and happiness of the human race. Much good has 
already been effected by the solemn proclamation of our prin- 
ciples — much more by the illustration of our example. The 
tempest which threatens desolation may be destined only to purify 
the atmosphere. It is not in tranquil ease and enjoyment that 
the active energies of mankind are displayed. Toils and dan- 
gers are trials of the soul. Doomed to the first by his sentence at 
the fall, man by submission converts them into pleasures. The last 
are, since the fall, the conditions of his existence. To see them in 
advance, to guard against them by all the suggestions of prudence, 
to meet them witk the composure of unyielding resistance, and to 
abide with firm resignation the final dispensation of Him who rules 
the ball—these are the dictates of philosophy — these are the pre- 
cepts of religion — these are the principles and consolations of pa- 
triotism — these remain v/hen all is lost — ^and of these is composed 
the spirit of independence — the spirit embodied in that beautiful per- 
sonification of the poet, which may each of you, my countrymen, 
t£} the last hour of his life, apply to himself^ — • 

*Thy spirit, Independence, let me share, 
Lord of the hon heart, and eagle eye ! 
Thy steps I follow, with my bosom bare, 
Mor heed the storm that howls aloug the tky.* 


" In the course of nature, the voice which now addresses ycm 
must soon cease to be heard upon earth. Life and all which it in- 
herits lose their value as it draws towards its close. Bat for most 
of you, my friends and neighbors, long and many years of futurity 
are yet in store. May they be years of freedom — years of pros- 
perity — years of happiness, ripening for immortality ! But, were 
ihe breath which now gives utterance to my feelings the last vital 
air I should draw, my exph-ing words to you and your children 
should be, hukpcndence and Umon forever I'^^ 

A few weeks subsequent to the death of ex-Presi- 
dent Monroe, Mr. Adams delivered an interesting and 
able eulogy on his life and character, before the public 
authorities of the city of Boston, in Faneuil Hall. In 
drawing to a conclusion, he used the following lan- 
guage :— 

" Our country, by the bountiful dispensations of a gracious 
Heaven, is, and for a series of years has been, blessed with pro- 
found peace. But when the first father of our race had exhibited 
before him, by the archangel sent to announce his doom, and to 
console him in his fall, the fortunes and misfortunes of his descend- 
ants, he saw that the deepest of their miseries would befal them 
while favored with all the blessings of peace j and in the bitterness 
of his anguish he exclaimed : — 

' Now I see 
Peace to corrupt, no less than war to waste.' 

" It is the very fervor of the noonday sun, in the cloudless atmos- 
phere of a summer sky, which breeds 

' the sweeping whirlwind's sway, 
That, hushed in grim repose, expects his evening prey.' 

" You have insured the gallant ship which ploughs the waves* 
freighted with your lives and your children's fortunes, from the fury 
^of the tempest above, and from the treachery of the wave beneath. 
Beware of the danger against which you can alone insure your- 
selves — the latent defect of the gallant ship itself. Pass but a few 


short days, and forty years will have elapsed since the voice of him 
who addresses you, speaking to your fathers from this hallowed 
spot, gave for you, in the face of Heaven, the solemn pledge, that 
if, in the course of your career on earth, emergencies should arise, 
calling for the exercise of those energies and virtues which, in 
times of tranquillity and peace remain by the will of Heaven dor- 
mant in the human bosom, you would prove yourselves not un- 
worthy the sires who had toiled, and fought, and bled, for the inde- 
pendence of the country. Nor has that pledge been unredeemed. 
You have maintained through times of trial and danger the inher- 
itance of freedom, of union, of independence bequeathed you by 
your forefathers. It remains for you only to transmit the same 
peerless legacy, unimpaired, to your children of the next succeeding 
age. To this end, let us join in humble supplication to the Founder 
of empires and the Creator of all worlds, that he would continue to 
your posterity the smiles which his favor has bestowed upon you ; 
and, since ' it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps,' that he 
would enlighten and lead the advancing generation in the way they 
should go. That in all the perils, and all the mischances which 
may threaten or befall our United Republic, in after times, he would 
raise up from among your sons deliverers to enlighten her councils, 
to defend her freedom, and if need be, to lead her armies to victory. 
And should the gloom of the year of independence ever again over- 
spread the sky, or the metropolis of your empire be once more des- 
tined to smart under the scourge of an invader's hand,* that there 
never may be found wanting among the children of your country, 
a warrior to bleed, a statesman to counsel, a chief to direct and 
govern, inspired with all the virtues, and endowed with all the 
faculties which have been so signally displayed in the life of James 

* Alluding to the burning of the city of Washington, in the virar of 







Mr. Adams took liis seat in the House of Represent- 
atives without ostentation, in December, 1831. His 
appearance there produced a profound sensation. It 
was the first time an ex-President had ever entered 
that Hall in the capacity of a member. He was received 
with the highest marks of respect. It presented a 
singular spectacle to behold members of Congress 
who, when Mr. Adams was President, had charged him 
with every species of political corruption, and loaded 
his name with the most opprobrious epithets, now 
vicing with one another in bestowing upon him the 
highest marks of respect and confidence. That which 
they denied the President, they freely yielded to the 
Man. It was the true homag-e which virtue and 
patriotism must ever receive — more honorable, and far 
more grateful to its object, than all the servility and 


flattery which power and patronage can so easily 

The degree of confidence reposed in Mr. Adams 
was manifested by his being placed at once at the 
head of the Committee on Manufactures. This is 
always a responsible station ; but it was pecuKarly so at 
that time. The whole Union was highly agitated on the 
subject of the tariff. The friends of domestic manu- 
factures at the North, insisted upon high protective 
duties, to sustain the mechanical and manufacturing 
interests of the country against a ruinous foreign com- 
petition. The Southern States resisted these measures 
as destructive to their interests, and remonstrated with 
the utmost vehemence against them— in which they 
were joined by a large portion of the Democratic party 
throughout the North. Mr. Adams, with enlarged 
views of national unity and general prosperity, coun- 
selled moderation to both parties. As Chairman of the 
Committee on Manufactures, he strove to produce 
such a compromise between the conflicting interests, as 
should yield each section a fair protection, and restore 
harmony and fraternity among the people. 

So important were Mr. Adams' services deemed in 
the Committee on Manufactures, that, on proposing to 
resign his post as Chairman, to fulfil other duties which 
claimed his attention, he was besought by all parties 
to relinquish his purpose. Mr. Cambreleng, of N. Y., 
a political opponent of Mr. Adams, said, *' It was not a 
pleasant duty to oppose the request of any member of 


the House, particularly one of his character. Hte did 
so with infinite regret in the present instance ; and he 
certainly would not take such a course, but for the 
important consequences that might result from assent- 
ing to the wishes of the distinguished gentleman from 
Massachusetts. He had reached the conclusion, not 
without infinite pain and reluctance, that the harmony, 
if not the existence of our Confederacy, depends, at this 
crisis, upon the arduous, prompt, and patriotic efforts 
of a few eminent men. He believed that much might 
be done by the gentleman from Massachusetts.*' 

In the same tone of high compliment, Mr. Barbour, 
of Virginia, said, " that to refuse anything that could 
be asked by the gentleman from Massachusetts gave 
him pain, great pain. He said it was with unaffected 
sincerity he declared, that the member from Massachu- 
setts (with whom he was associated in the committee) 
had not only fulfilled all his duties with eminent ability, 
in the committee, but in a spirit and temper that com- 
manded his grateful acknowledgments, and excited his 
highest admiration. Were it permitted him to make a 
personal appeal to the gentleman, he would have done 
so in advance of this motion. He would have appealed 
to him as a patriot, as a statesman, as a philanthropist, 
and above all as an American, feeling the full force of 
all his duties, and touched by all their incentives to 
lofty action — to forbear this request.** 

These complimentary appeals were well deserved 
by Mr. Adams, and show most emphatically the high 


position he occupied in the esteem and confidence of 
the entire House of Representatives, on becoming a 
member thereof. But, with the modesty of true great- 
ness, it was painful to him to hear these encomiums 
uttered in his own presence. He arose, and begged 
the House, in whatever further action it might take 
upon the subject, to refrain from pursuing this strain, 
" I have been most deeply affected," he said, '' by what 
has already passed. I have felt, in the strongest man- 
ner, the impropriety of my being in the House while 
such remarks were made ; being very conscious that 
sentiments of an opposite kind might have been uttered 
with far more propriety, and have probably been with- 
held in consequence of my presence." 

Mr. Adams carried with him into Congress all his 
previous habits of industry and close application to 
business. He was emphatically a hard worker. Few 
men spent more hours in the twenty-four in assiduous 
labor. He would take no active part in any matter — 
would engage in the discussion of no topic — and would 
not commit himself on any question — until he had 
sounded it to its nether depths, and explored all its 
ramifications, all its bearings and influences, and had 
thoroughly become master of the subject. To gain 
this information no toil was too great, no application 
too severe. It was in this manner that he was enabled 
to overwhelm with surprise his cotemporaries in Con- 
gress, by the profundity of his knowledge. No subject 
could be started, no question discussed, on which he 


was not perfectly at home. Without hesitation or mis- 
take, he could pour forth a stream of facts, dates, names, 
places, accompanied with narrations, anecdotes, reflec- 
tions and arguments, until the matter was thoroughly- 
sifted and laid bare in all its parts and properties, to the 
understanding of the most casual observer. The te- 
nacity and correctness of his memory was proverbial. 
Alas, for the man who questioned the correctness of his 
statements, his facts, or dates. Sure discomfiture await- 
ed him. His mind was a perfect calendar, a store-house, 
a mine of knowledge, in relation to all past events con- 
nected with the history of his country and his age. 

In connection with his other exemplary virtues, Mr. 
Adams was prompt, faithful, unwearied, in the dis- 
charge of all his public duties. The oldest member of 
the House, he was at the same time the most punctual 
— the first at his post ; the last to retire from the labors 
of the day. His practice in these respects could well 
put younger members to the blush. While many 
others might be negligent in their attendance, saunter- 
ing in idleness, engaged in frivolous amusements, or 
even in dissipation, he was. always at his post. No 
call of the House was necessary — no Sergeant- at-arms 
need be despatched — to bring him within the Hall of 
Representatives. He was the last to move an ad- 
journment, or to adopt any device to consume time or 
neglect the public business for personal convenience 
or gratification. In every respect he was a model 
legislator. His example can be most profitably im- 


itated by those who would arise to eminence in the 
councils of the nation. 

" My seat was, for two years, by his side, and it would have 
scarcely more surprised me to miss one of the marble columns 
of the Hall from its pedestal than to see his chair empty. * * * 
I shall, perhaps, be pardoned for introducing here a slight personal 
recollection, which serves, in some degree, to illustrate his habits. 
The sessions of the last two days of (I think) the twenty-third Con- 
gress, were prolonged, the one for nineteen, and the other for seven- 
teen hours. At the close of the last day's session, he remained in 
the hall of the House the last seated member of the body. One after 
another, the members had gone home ; many of them for hours. 
The hall — brilliantly lighted up, and gaily attended, as was, and 
perhaps is still, the custom at the beginning the last evening of a 
session — had become cold, dark, and cheerless. Of the members 
who remained, to prevent the public business from dying for want 
of a quorum, most but himself were sinking from exhaustion, although 
they had probably taken their meals at the usual hours, m the 
course of the day. After the adjournment, I went up to Mr. 
Adams' seat, to join company with him, homeward ; and as I knew 
he came to the House at eight o'clock in the morning, and it was 
til en past midnight, I expressed a hope that he had taken some 
refreshment in the course of the day. He said he had not left his 
seat; but liolding up a hit of hard bread in Ms fingers, gave me tc 
understand in what way he had sustained nature."* 

The following reminiscence will further illustrate 
Mr. Adams' habits of industry and endurance at a 
later day, as well as show his views in regard to the 
famous " Expunging Resolution." 

" On a cold and dreary morning, in the month of January, 1837, 1 
went to the capitol of the United States, at a very early hour, to 
write out a very long speech I had reported for an honorable gentle- 
man, who wished to look well in print ; and on entering the hall 

»a »j ■ ■ u I y ■ ■ !■ ^1^^^^^ I. ■ ■ I ■! ■■—.... . ■ ■ ■ I. I — — , .1 ^.,. , .1 ■ , ^BM^^ 

* Edward Everett. 


of the House of Representatives, I found Mr. Adams, as early 
as the hour was, in his seat, busily engaged in writing. He 
and myself were the only persons present ; even the industrious Mr. 
Follansbee, the then doorkeeper, had not made his appearance, with 
his assistants and pages, to distribute copies of the journal and the 
usual documents. . 

" As I made it a rule never to speak to Mr. Adams, unless he 
spoke first, I said nothing ; but took my seat in the reporters' gallery 
and went to work. I had written about half an hour, when the 
venerable statesman appeared at my desk, and was pleased to say 
that I was a very industrious man. I thanked him for the compli- 
ment, and, in return, remarked, that, as industrious as J might be, I 
could not keep pace with him, ' for,' said I, ' I found you here, 
sir, when I came in.' 

" ' I believe I was a little early, sir,' he replied ; ' but, as there is 
to be a closing debate to-day, in the Senate, on the expunging reso- 
lution, which I feel inclined to hear, I thought I would come down 
at an unusual hour, this morning, and dispatch a little writing before 
the Senate was called to order.' 

"'Do you think the expunging resolution will be disposed of to- 
day ?' I inquired. 

" ' I understand it will,' he rejoined. * I hope so, at least,' he 
added, ' for I think the country has already become weary of it, 
and is impatient for a decision. It has already absorbed more 
time than should have been devoted to it.' 

" ' It will pass, I suppose, sir ?' 

"' Oh, certainly ; and by a very decided majority. The adminis- 
tration is too strong for the opposition ; and the affair will call up a 
fitrict party vote. Of course Mr, Clay's resolution will be expunged, 
and the journal will not be violated.' 

"I was somewhat surprised at the remark, and, in return, ob- 
ser\'ed that I had always understood that it was on the constitutional 
ground, that the expunging process could not be effected without 
destroying the journal, that the opponents of the measure had based 

" ' It is true, sir, that that has been the grave and somewhat tenable 
argument in the Senate ; but it is a fallacy, after all,' he replied. ' The 
constitution, sir, it is true, renders it imperative on both Houses to 
keep a correct journal of its proceedings ; and all this can be done, 


and any portion of it may be expunged, without violating that instru- 
ment. For instance, sir, a resolution is adopted to-day, is entered 
on the journal, and to-morrow is expunged — and still the journal 
remains correct, and the constitution is not violated. For the act 
by which the expungation is effected is recorded on the journal ; the 
expunged resolution becomes a matter of record, and thus every- 
thinjT stands fair and correct. The constitution is a sacred docu- 
ment, and should not be violated ; but how often is it strictly 
adhered to, to the very letter ? There are, sir, some men in the world 
who make great parade about their devotion to the " dear consiiiu 
tion,"" — men, sir, who make its sacred character a hobby, and who, 
nevertheless, are perfectly reckless of its violation, if the ends of 
party are to be accomplished by its abjuration.' 

" There was a degree of sarcasm blended with his enunciation 
of the ' dear constitution,' which induced me to think it possible 
that he intended some personal allusion when he repeated the words. 
In this I might, and might not, have erred. 

" ' In what way, Mr. Adams,' I inquired, ' is this expunging pro- 
cess to be accomplished ? Is the objectionable resolution to be erased 
from the journal with a pen ; or is the leaf that contains it to be 
cut out ?' 

" ' Neither process is to be resorted to, as I understand it,' he 
replied. ' The resolution will remain in the book; black lines will 
be drawn around it, and across it from right angles, and the word " ex- 
punged," will be written on the face of it. It will, to all intents and 
purposes, still stand on the face of the book. There are precedents 
in parliamentary journalism for the guidance of the Senate, and I 
suppose they will be adopted.' 

" He then proceeded to give me a very graphic and interesting 
description of an expunging process that took place in the British 
Parliament in the reign of James the First, of England, which I 
would repeat, if time and space allowed. He detained me a long 
time, in narrating precedents, and commenting on them ; and then 
abruptly bringing the subject to a close, left me to pursue my labors. 

" Soon after the House had been called to order, immediately after 
the chaplain had said his prayers — for that was a ceremonial that 
Mr. Adams always observed — I saw him leave his seat, and proceed, 
as I supposed, to the Senate chamber. After an hour or two had 
elapsed, I went into the Senate, and there found him, standing out- 



side of the bar, listening, with all imaginable attention, to Mr. Felix 
Grundy, who was dehvering himself of some brief remarks he had 
to utter on the subject. 

" At nine o'clock in the evening, as I fumbled my way through 
the badly-lighted rotunda, having just escaped from a caucus that 
had been holding ' a secret session,' in the room of the committee 
on pubhc lands, I descried a light issuing from the vestibule of the 
Senate chamber, which apprized me that ' the most dignified body 
on earth' was still in session. Impelled by a natural curiosity, I 
proceeded towards the council chamber of the right reverend signors; 
and, just as I reached the door, Mr. Adams stepped out. I inquired 
if the resolution had been disposed of. 

" ' No, sir,' he replied ; ' nor is it probable that it will be to-night ! 
A Senator from North Carolina is yet on the floor ; and, as it does not 
appear likely that he will yield it very soon, and as I am somewhat 
faint and weary, I think I shall go home.' 

" The night was very stormy. Snow was falling fast ; the moon, 
which had 

' not yet fiU'd her horns,' 

had receded beneath the western horizon ; and, as the capitol was 
but sadly lighted, I offered my services to tlie venerable sage of 
Quincy, and at the same time asked leave to conduct him to his 

" ' Sir,' said he, ' I am indebted to you for your proffered kindness ; 
but I need not the service of any one. I am somewhat advanced in 
life, but not yet, by the blessing of God, infirm ; or what Doctor 
Johnson would call " superfluous ;"' and you may recollect what 
old Adam says in the play of " As you like it :" 

" For in my youth I never did apply 
Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood." ' 

" For the first time in my life, I found Mr. Adams a little inclined 
to be facetious ; and I was glad of it — for it was to me a kind of 
assurance that my presence was not absolutely unwelcome. 

" The salutation beingf over, and Mr. Adams having consented 
that I should see him down the steps of the capitol, I proceeded on- 
ward, and soon found myself, with my revered convoy, in the 
vicinity of the western gate of the capitol grounds. ' The wind 



whistled a dismal tale,' as we trudg:ed onward, looking in vain for 
a cab ; and the snow and sleet, which, early in the day, had mantled 
the earth, was now some twelve inches deep on Pennsylvania 
avenue. I insisted on going onward ; but Mr. Adams objected, and 
bidding me good night somewhat unceremoniously, told me, almost 
in as many words, that my farther attendance was unwelcome. 

'• As I left him, he drew his ' Boston wrapper' still closer around 
him, hitched up his mittens, and with elastic step breasted a wintry 
storm tliat might have repelled even the more elastic movement 
of juvenility, and wended up the avenue. Although I cannot irrev- 
erently say that he 

' Whistled as lie went, for want of thought,' 

I fancy that his mind was so deeply imbued with the contemplation 
of affairs of state, and especially in contemplating the expunging 
resolution, that he arrived at his home long before he was aware 
that he had threaded the distance between the capitol and the 
Presidential square.'"* 

Although elected to the House of Representatives as 
a Whig, and usually acting with that party, yet Mr. 
Adams would never acknowledge that fealty to party 
could justify a departure from the conscientious dis- 
charge of duty. He w^ent with his party as far as he 
believed his party was right and its proceedings calcu- 
lated to promote the welfare of the country. But no 
party claims, no smiles nor frowns, could induce him 
to sanction any measure which he believed prejudicial 
to the interest of the people. Hence, during his con- 
gressional career, the Whigs occasionally found him a 
decided opposer of their policy and measures, on ques- 
tions where he deemed they had mistaken the true 

* Reminiscences of the late John Quincy Adams, by an Old Colony 
Ma"^. — New York Atlas. 


course. In this he was but true to his principles, char 
acter, and whole past history. It was not that he loved 
his political party or friends less, but that he loved what 
he viewed as conducive to the welfare of the nation, 

The same principle of action governed him in refer- 
ence to his political opponents. In general he threw 
his influence against the administration of Gen. Jack- 
son, under a sincere conviction that its policy was in- 
jurious to the welfare of our common country. But to 
every measure which he could sanction, he did not 
hesitate to yield the support of all his energies. 

An instance of this description occurred in relation 
to the treaty of indemnity with France. For nearly 
forty years, negotiations had been pending in vain with 
the French Government, to procure an indemnity for 
spoliations of American commerce, during the French 
Revolution and Republic. On the 4th of July, 1831, 
Mr. Rives, the American Minister to France, succeeded 
in concluding a treaty with that country, securing to 
American merchants an indemnity of five milHons of 
dollars. But although the treaty was duly ratified by 
both Governments, the French Chamber of Deputies 
obstinately refused, for several years, to vote an appro- 
priation of money to fulfil its stipulations. In 1835, 
Gen. Jackson determined on strong measures to bring 
the French Government to the discharge of its obliga- 
tions. He accordingly sent a message to Congress, 
recommending, in the event of further delay on the 



part of France, that letters of marque and reprisal be 
issued against the commerce of France, and at the 
same time instructed Mr. Edward Livingston, our 
Minister at that day at the Court of St. Cloud, to de- 
mand his passports, and retire to London. In all these 
steps, which resulted in bringing France to a speedy 
fulfilment of the treaty, Mr. Adams yielded his unre- 
served support to the administration. He believed 
Gen. Jackson, in resorting to compulsory measures, 
was pursuing a course called for alike by the honor 
and the interest of the country, and he did not hesitate 
to give him a cordial support, notwithstanding he was 
a political opponent. In a speech made by Mr. Adams 
on the subject, in the House of Representatives, he 
said : — 

" Sir, if we do not unite with the President of the United States 
in an effort to compel the French Chamber of Deputies to carry out 
the provisions of this treaty, we shall become the scorn, the con- 
tempt, the derision and the reproach of all mankind ! Sir, this 
treaty has been ratified on both sides of the ocean ; it has received 
the sign manual of the sovereign of France, through His Imperial 
Majesty's principal Minister of State ; it has been ratified by the 
Senate of this Republic ; it has been sanctioned by Almighty God ; 
and still we are told, in a voice potential, in the other wing of this 
capitol, that the arrogance of France, — nay, sir, not of France, but 
of her Chamber of Deputies — the insolence of the French Cham- 
bers, must be submitted to, and we must come down to the loicer 
degradation of re-opening negotiations to attain that which has al- 
ready been acknowledged to be our due ! Sir, is this a specimen 
of your boasted chivalry ? Is tiiis an evidence of the existence of that 
heroic valor which has so often led our arms on to glory and im- 
mortality ? Re-open negotiation, sir, with France ? Do it, and soon 
you will find your flag insulted, dishonored, and trodden in the dust 


by the pigmy States of Asia and Africa — by the very banditti of the 
earth. Sir, the only negotiations, says the President of the United 
States, that he would encounter, should be at the cannon's mouth!" 

The effect produced by this speech was tremendous 
on all sides ; and, for a while, the House was lost in the 
excitement it afforded. The venerable orator took his 
seat ; and, as he sank into it, the very walls shook with 
the thundering applause he had awakened. 

On the 2Sth of June, 1836, the venerable ex- Presi- 
dent James Madison, departed life at Montpelier, Va., 
in the eighty-sixth year of his age. He had filled a 
prominent place in the history of our Government, 
from its first organization. As a statesman, he was 
unsurpassed in critical acumen, in profundity of knowl- 
edge, in an understanding of constitutional Government, 
and its- adaptation to the rights and interests of the 
people. His writings are an invaluable legacy to his 
countrymen, and will be studied and quoted for ages 
to come. " His public acts were a noble commentary 
upon his political principles — his private life an illus- 
tration of the purest virtues of tlie heart." 

When a message from the President, announcing 
the death of Mr. Madison, was received in the House 
of Representatives, Mr. Adams arose and said : — 

" By the general sense of the House, it is with perfect propriety 
that the delegation from the commonwealth of Virginia have taken 
the lead in the melancholy duty of proposing the measures suitable 
to be adopted as testimonials of the vereration due, from the Legis- 


lature of the Union, to the memory of the departed patriot and sage, 
the native of their soil, and the citizen of their community. 

" It is not without some hesitation, and some diffidence, that I 
have risen to offer in my own behalf, and in that of my colleagues 
upon this floor, and of our common constituents, to join our voice, 
at once of mourning and exultation, at the event announced to both 
Houses of Congress, by the message from the President of the 
United States — of mourning at the bereavement which has befallen 
our common country, by the decease of one of her most illustrious 
sons — of exultation at the spectacle afforded to the observation of 
the civilized world, and for the emulation of after times, by the close 
of a life of usefulness and of glory, after forty years of service in 
trusts of the highest dignity and splendor that a confiding country 
could bestow, succeeded by twenty years of retirement and private 
life, not inferior, in the estimation of the virtuous and the wise, to 
the honors of the highest station that ambition can ever attain. 

" Of the public life of James Madison what could I say that is 
not deeply impressed upon the memory and upon the heart of every 
one within the sound of my voice ? Of his private hfe, what but 
must meet an echoing shout of applause from every voice within 
this hail ? Is it not in a pre-eminent degree by emanation from his 
mind, that we are assembled here as the representatives of the 
people and the States of this Union ? Is it not transcendently by 
his exertions that we all address each other here by the endearing 
appellation of countrymen and fellow-citizens ? Of that band of 
benefactors of the human race, the founders of the Constitution of 
the United States, James Madison is the last who has gone to his 
reward. Their glorious work has survived them all. They have 
transmitted the precious bond of union to us, now entirely a suc- 
ceeding generation to them. May it never cease to be a voice of 
admonition to us, of our duty to transmit the inheritance unimpaired 
to our children of the rising age. 

" Of the personal relations of this great man, which gave rise to 
the long career of public service in which twenty years of my own 
life has been engaged, it becomes me not to speak. The fulness 
of the heart must be silent, even to the suppression of the overflow- 
ings of gratitude and affection." 

To the year 1835, the career of Mr. Adams in 


Congress had been marked by no signal display of 
characteristics peculiar to himself, other than such as 
the world had long been familiar with in his previous 
history. He had succeeded in maintaining his reputa- 
tion for patriotism, devotion to principle, political 
sagacity and wisdom, and his fame as a public debater 
and eloquent speaker. But no new development of 
qualities unrecognized before had been made. From 
that year forw^ard, however, he placed himself in a new 
attitude before the country, and entered upon a career 
which eclipsed all his former services, and added a 
lustre to his fame w^hich will glow in unrivalled splen- 
dor as long as human freedom is prized on earth. It 
can hardly be necessary to state that allusion is here 
made to his advocacy of the Right of Petition, and his 
determined hostility to slavery. At an age when most 
men would leave the stormy field of public life, and 
retire to the quiet seclusion of domestic comfort, these 
great topics inspirited Mr. Adams with a renewed 
vigor. With all the ardor and zeal of youth, he placed 
himself in the front rank of the battle which ensued, 
plunged into the very midst of the melee, and, with a 
dauntless courage, that won the plaudits of the world, 
held aloft the banner of freedom in the Halls of Con- 
gress, when other hearts quailed and fell back ! He 
led " the forlorn hope" to the assault of the bulwarks 
of slavery, when the most sanguine believed his 
almost superhuman labors would be all in vain. In 
these contests a spirit blazed out from his noble soul 


which electrified the nation with admiration. In his 
intrepid bearing amid these scenes he fully personified 
the couplet quoted in one of his orations : — 

" Thy spirit, Independence, let me share, 

liOrd of the lion heart and eagle eye ! 
Thy steps I follow, with my bosom bare, 

Nor heed the storm tliat howls along the sky." 

The first act in the career of Mr. Adams as a Mem- 
ber of Congress, was in relation to slavery. On the 
12th of December, 1831, it being the second week of 
the first session of the twenty-second Congress, he 
presented fifteen petitions, all numerously signed, from 
sundry inhabitants of Pennsylvajiia, praying for the 
abolition of slavery and the slave trade in the District 
of Columbia. In presenting these petitions, Mr. Adams 
remarked, that although the petitioners were not of his 
immediate constituents, yet he did not deem himself at 
liberty to decline presenting their petitions, the trans- 
mission of which to him manifested a confidence in 
him for which he was bound to be grateful. From a 
letter which had accompanied the petitions, he inferred 
that they came from members of the Society of Friends 
or Quakers ; a body of men, he declared, than whom 
there was no more respectable and worthy class of citi- 
zens — none who more strictly made their lives a com- 
mentary on their professions ; a body of men comprising, 
in his firm opinion, as much of human virtue, and as 
little of human infirmity, as any other equal number of 
men, of any denomination, upon the face of the globe. 


The petitions for the abolition of the slave trade 
in the District of Columbia, Mr. Adams considered 
relating to a proper subject for the legislation of Con- 
gress. But he did not give his countenance to those 
which prayed for the abolition of slavery in that District. 
Not that he would approbate the system of slavery ; 
for he was, and in fact had been through life, its most 
determined foe. But he believed the time had not 
then arrived for the discussion of that subject in Con- 
gress. It was his settled conviction that a premature 
agitation of slavery in the national councils would 
greatly retard, rather than facilitate, the abolition of 
that giant evil — "as the most salutary medicines," he 
declared in illustration, " unduly administered, were the 
most deadly of poisons." 

The position taken by Mr. Adams, in presenting 
these petitions, was evidently misunderstood by many, 
and especially by Abolitionists. They construed it 
into a disposition on his part to sanction, or at least to 
succumb unresistingly, to the inhumanity and enormity 
of the slave institution. In this conclusion they sig- 
nally erred. Mr. Adams, by birth, education, all the 
associations of his life, and the fixed principles of his 
moral and political character, was an opposer of slavery 
in every form. No man felt more keenly the wretched 
absurdity of professing to base our Government on the 
** self-evident truth, that all men are created equal, and 
endowed by their Creator with an unalienable right to 
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" — of pro- 



claiming our Union the abode of liberty, the " home 
of the free," the asylum of the oppressed — while hold- 
ing in our midst millions of fellow-beings manacled in 
hopeless bondage ! No man was more anxious to 
correct this disgraceful misnomer, and wipe away its 
dark stain from our national escutcheon at the earliest 
practicable moment. But he was a statesman of pro- 
found knowledge and far-reaching sagacity. He 
possessed the rare quality of being able to '* bide his 
time" in all enterprizes. Great as he felt the enormity 
of American slavery to be, he would not, in seeking to 
remove it, select a time so unseasonable, and adopt 
measures so unwise, as would result, Samson-like, in 
removing the pillars of our great political fabric, and 
crushing the glorious Union, formed by the wisdom 
and cemented by the blood of our Revolutionary 
Fathers, into a mass of ruins. 

Believing there was a time to withhold and a time 
to strike, he would patiently wait until the sentiment 
of the American people became sufficiently ripened, 
under the increasing light and liberality of the age, to 
permit slavery to be lawfully and peaceably removed, 
while the Union should remain unweakened and un 
touched — the pride of our hearts, the admiration of the 
world. Hence, in his early career, he saw no pro- 
pitious moment for such a work. While discharging 
tlie duties of U. S. Senator, Secretary of State, and 
President, an attempt in that direction would have 
resulted in an aggravation of the evils of slavery, and 


a strengthening of the institution. Nor on first enter- 
ing Congress did he conceive the time to be fully come 
to engage in that agitation of the momentous subject, 
which, when once commenced in earnest, would never 
cease until either slavery would be abolished, as far as 
Congress possessed constitutional power, or the Union 
become rent in twain ! But he evidently saw that 
time was at hand — even at the door — and he prepared 
himself for the contest. 

In 1835, the people of Texas took up arms in open 
rebellion against the Government of Mexico. That 
Province had been settled chiefly by emigrants from 
the Southern and Southwestern States. Many of 
them had taken their slaves with them. But the 
Mexican Government, to their enduring honor be it 
said, abolished slavery throughout that Republic. The 
ostensible object of the Texian insurrection was to 
resist certain schemes of usurpation alleged against 
Santa Anna, at that time President of Mexico. At the 
present day, however, after having witnessed the en- 
tire progress and consummation of the scheme, it is 
abundantly evident, that from the beginning there was 
a deUberate and well-digested plan to re-establish 
slavery in Texas — annex that province to the United 
States — and thus immensely increase the slave terri- 
tory and influence in the Union. 

At the first blast of the Texian bugle, thousands of 
volunteers from the slaveholding States rushed to the 


standard of " the lone star." Agents were sent to the 
United States to create an interest in behalf of Texas 
— the most inflammatory appeals were made to the peo- 
ple of the Union — and armed bodies of American citi- 
zens were openly formed in the South, and transported 
without concealment to the seat of the insurrection. 
President Jackson reminded the inhabitants of the 
United States of their obligations to observe neutrality in 
the contest between Mexico and its rebellious province. 
At the same time, Gen. Gaines, wdth a body of U. S. 
troops, was ordered to take up a position within the 
borders of Texas. The avowed object of this move- 
ment was to protect the people of the Southwestern 
frontiers from the incursions of Indian tribes in the 
employment of Mexico. But the presence of such a 
body of troops could not but exert an influence favor- 
able to the measures and objects of Texas ; and be- 
sides, it afterwards appeared the Indians had no dispo- 
sition to take sides with Mexico, or to make any 
depredations on the territories of the United States. 
A call was made on Congress for an appropriation of 
a million of dollars to carry on these military opera- 
tions, the entire tendency of which was to encourage 
Texas in its atteuipt to throw off the Mexican alle- 
giance and re-establish slavery. 

The source from whence the authorities of Texas 
were confidently looking for assistance, and the ulterior 
object at which they were aiming in their insurrection 
— viz. : annexation to the United States, and thus add- 


ing territory and strength to the institution of slavery 
— are clearly revealed in the following extracts from a 
letter addressed by Gen. Houston, commander of the 
Texian forces, to Gen. Dunlap, of Nashville, Tenn : — 

" Near Sabine, July, 2, 1836. 
« To Gen. Dunlap : 

Sir : — Your favor of the 1st of June reached me last evening. 
I regret so much delay will necessarily result before you can reach 
us. We will need your aid, and that speedily. The enemy, in large 
numbers, are reported to be in Texas. ***** The army with which 
they first entered Texas is broken up and dispersed by desertion 
and other causes. If they get another army of the extent proposed, 
it must be composed of new recruits, and men pressed into service. 
They will not possess the mechanical efficiency of discipline which 
gives the Mexican troops the only advantage they have. They will 
easily be routed by a very inferior force. For a portion of that 
force, we shall be obliged to look to the United States ! It cannot 
reach us too soon. There is but one feeling in Texas, in my opin- 
ion, and that is, to establish the independence of Texas, and to be 
* ATTACHED TO THE United States ! ***** March as speedily as 
possible, with all the aid you can bring, and I doubt not but you 
will be gratified with your reception and situation." 

The whole plan succeeded beyond the anticipation 
of its most sanguine projectors. Aided by men and 
means from the United States, Texas established its 
independence — organized a government — incorporated 
slavery into its constitution so thoroughly as to guard 
against the remotest attempt ever to remove it — and 
by a process unsurpassed in the annals of political 
intrigue, in due time became annexed to the North 
American Union. In this accession of a territory 
from which several large States will eventually be 


carved out, the slave power of the United States ob- 
tained a signal advantage, of which it will not be 
backward to avail itself in the time of its need. A 
faithful history of this entire movement is yet to be 

Mr. Adams, with his well-known and long-tried 
sagacity, saw at a glance the whole design of the 
originators of the Texas insurrection. While most 
people were averse to the belief that a project was 
seriously on foot to sever a large and free province 
from the Mexican Republic and annex it to the Union 
as slave territory, he read the design in legible char- 
acters from the beginning. In a speech made in the 
House of Representatives, in May, 1836, in reference 
to the call for a million of dollars, for purposes already 
stated, Mr. Adams unriddled the Texian project with 
the vision of a prophet. 

" Have we not seen American citizens," said Mr. Adams, " going 
from all parts of the country to carry on the war of this province 
against the united Government of Mexico ? Who were those who 
fell at Alamo ? Who are now fighting under the command of the 
hero* of Texian fame ? And have we not been called upon in this 
House, to recognize Texian independence ? It seems that Gen. 
Gaines considers this a war in defence of ' our Texians.' " 

Mr. Cambreleng explained that the w®rd '^ neigh- 
bors," had been accidentally omitted in Gen. Gaines' 

Mr. Adams continued:—" Was this an intention to conquer Texas, 

* General Houston. 


to re-establish that slavery which had been abolished by the United 
Mexican States ? If that was the case, and we were to be drawn 
into an acknowledgment of their independence, and then, by that 
preliminary act, by that acknowledgment, if we were upon their 
application to admit Texas to become a part of the United States, 
then the House ought to be informed of it. I shall be for no such 
war, nor for making any such addition to our territory. ****** j 
hope Congress will take care to go into no war for the re-establish- 
ment of slavery where it has been abolished — that they will go into 
no war in behalf of ' our Texians,' or ' our Texian neighbors'— 
and that they will go into no war with a foreign power, without 
other cause than the acquisition of territory." 

In a speech delivered a few days subsequent to the 
above, Mr. Adams used the following language : — 

" It is said that one of the earliest acts of this administration was 
a proposal, made at a time when there was already much ill-humoi 
in Mexico against the United States, that she should cede to the 
United States a very large portion of her territory — large enough 
to constitute nine States equal in extent to Kentucky. It must be 
confessed that a device better calculated to produce jealousy, sus- 
picion, ill-will and hatred, could not have been contrived. It is 
further affirmed that this overture, offensive in itself, was made 
precisely at the time when a swarm of colonists from these United 
States, were covering the Mexican border with land-jobbing, and 
with slaves, introduced in defiance of Mexican laws, by which 
slavery had been abolished throughout the Republic. The war 
now raging in Texas is a Mexican civil war, and a war for the re- 
establishment of slavery where it was abolished. It is not a servile 
war, but a war between slavery and emancipation, and every possi- 
ble effort has been made to drive us into the war on the side of 

"When, in the year 1836, resolutions to recognize the independ- 
ence of Texas came up in the House of Representatives, Mr. 
Adams opposed them with great energy and eloquence, and pro 
voked a most ardent and violent debate. Mr. Waddy Thompson, 
then a Representative in Congress, and subsequently Minister to 
Mexico, advocated the passage of the resolutions ; and, in doing so, 


said that Mr. Adams, in negotiating the Florida treaty, actually ceded 
to Mexico the whole of Texas, a province that was part and parcel 
of this Union. 

" Mr. Adams immediately arrested the speech of Mr. Thompson, 
and denied the impeachment. Mr. Thompson rejoined, and, to 
strengthen his position, quoted some remarks Gen. Jackson had 
made on the subject, confirmatory of the charge of having sacrificed 
the national domain, in the Florida negotiation. 

" Mr. Adams replied with great warmth ; and went into a minute 
and interesting narrative of the whole transaction. Amonor other 
things, he said that, before the Florida treaty was signed, he took it 
to Gen. Jackson, to obtain his opinion of it ; and that it was uncon- 
ditionally approved by him. 

" Mr. Thompson was surprised at the announcement of this fact. 
It weakened his position very materially ; and he resumed his seat a 
defeated antagonist. So said the House of Representatives, with 
scarcely the exception of a member. 

" Mr. Adams continued his defence. ' At that time,' said he, 
* General Jackson was in this city, on exciting business connected 
with the Seminole war ; and, after the treaty had been concluded, 
and only wanted the signatures of the contracting parties, the then 
President of the United States directed me to call on General Jack- 
son, in my official capacity as Secretary of State, and obtain his 
opinion in reference to boundaries. I did call. General Jackson, 
sir, was at that time holding his quarters in the hotel at the other 
end of the avenue, now kept by Mr. Azariah Fuller, but then under 
the management of Jonathan McCarty. The day was exceedingly 
warm, and, on entering General Jackson's parlor, I found him much 
exhausted by excitement, and the intensity of the weather. I made 
known to him the object of my visit ; when he replied that I would 
greatly oblige him if I would excuse him from looking into the 
matter then. " Leave the papers with me, sir, till to-morrow, or 
the next day, and I will examine them." I did leave them, sir ; 
and the next day called for the hero's opinion and decision. Sir, I 
recollect the occurrence perfectly well ; General Jackson was still 
unwell ; and the papers, with an accompanying map, were spread 
before him. With his cane, sir, he pointed to the boundaries, as 
ihey had been agreed upon by the parties ; and, sir, with a very 
emphatic expression, which I need not repeat, he affirmed them.' 


" This debate, whilst yet warm from the hands of the reporters, 
reached General Jackson ; and was at once pressed upon his atten- 
tion. Its contradiction and refutation were deemed matters of par- 
amount importance. The old soldier did not hesitate long to act in 
the matter, and speedily there appeared in the Globe newspaper a 
letter, signed Andrew Jackson, denying, in unqualified and uncon- 
ditional terms, everything that Mr. Adams had uttered. He denied 
having been in Washington at the time Mr. Adams designated; 
but afterwards, being convinced that he was in error, in this fact 
only he corrected himself, but denied most positively that he had 
seen the Florida treaty, or Mr. Adams, at the time of its negotiation, 
or that he had had the remotest agency or connection with the 

" Mr. Adams responded, and appealed to his diary, where every- 
thing was set forth with the utmost precision and accuracy. The 
year, day of the month, and of the week, and the very hour of the 
day, all were faithfully recorded. 

" The affair produced much sensation at Washington ; and even 
the most determined advocates of General Jackson believed that he, 
and not Mr. Adams, was in error. No one would, or could for a 
moment, believe that Mr. Adams ' had made a false report.' 

" Whilst this controversy was pending, I called at the Presidential 
mansion, one afternoon, when General Jackson, strange to say, 
happened to be alone. He said that he was very glad to see me, 
because he would like to hear, from one who had an opportunity of 
seeing more of the press than he saw, what was the exact state of 
public opinion, in regard to the controversy. 

" ' As far as I am capable of judging, Mr. President,' I replied, 
'the people appear to be unanimous in the opinion that there is a 
misunderstanding, a misapprehension, between you and Mr. Adams ; 
for no one imagines, for a moment, that either of you would mis- 
represent facts ! Mr. Adams is a man of infinite method ; he is 
generally accurate, and, in this instance, it appears that he is sus- 
tained by his diary.' 

" ' His diary ! don't tell me anything more about his diary ! 
Sir, that diary comes up on all occasions— one would think that its 
pages were as immutable as the laws of the Medes and Persians ! 
Sir, that diary will be the death of me ! I wonder if James Monroe 
kept a diary ! If he did, it is to be hoped that it will be looked to^ 


to see if it contains anything about this Adams and DonOnis treaty. 
Sir, I did not see it ; I was not consulted about it.' 

" The old hero was exceedingly vehement, and was proceeding to 
descant with especial violence, when he was interrupted by the en» 
trance of Mr. Secretary Woodbury, and I never heard another 
word about the matter. A question of veracity between the parties 
was raised, and was never adjudicated. Both went down to the 
grave before any definite light was cast on the subject ; but the 
world had decided that General Jackson was in error.* 

♦ Reminiscences of the late John Quincy Adaims, by an Old Colony 






In the meantime, during the years 1836 and 1837, 
the public mind in the Northern States, became fully 
aroused to the enormities of American slavery — its en- 
croachments on the rights and interests of the free 
States — the undue influence it was exercising in our 
national councils — and the evident determination to 
enlarge its borders and its evils, by the addition of new 
and large territories. Petitions for the abolition of 
slavery and the slave trade in the District of Columbia 
and the Territories, began to pour into Congress, from 
every section of the East and North. These v/ere gen- 
erally presented by Mr. Adams. His age and experi- 
ence — his well-known influence in the House of Rep- 
resentatives — his patriotism, and his intrepid advocacy 
of human freedom — inspired the confidence of the 
people of the free States, and led them to entrust to 
him their petitions. With scrupulous fidelity he per- 
formed the duty thus imposed upon him. Whoever 
petitions might come from — whatever the nature of 


their prayer — whether for such objects as he could 
sanction or not — if they were clothed in respectful 
language, Mr. Adams felt himself under an imperative 
obligation to present them to Congress. For several 
sessions at this period, few days passed without his pre- 
senting more or less petitions having some relation to 
the subject of slavery. 

The southern members of Congress became alarmed 
at these demonstrations, and determined to arrest them, 
even at the sacrifice, if need be, of the right of petition 
— the most sacred privilege of freemen. On the 8th 
of Feb., 1836, a committee was raised by the House of 
Representatives, to take into consideration what dis- 
position should be made of petitions and memorials for 
the abolition of slavery and the slave trade, in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia, and report thereon. This committee 
consisted of Messrs. Pincknev of South Carolina, 
Hamer of Ohio, Pierce of New Hampshire, Hardin 
of Kentucky, Jarvis of Maine, Owens of Georgia, 
Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania, Dromgoole of Virginia, 
and Turrill of New York. On the 18th of May, the 
committee made a lengthy and unanimous report 
through Mr. Pinckney, recommending the adoption 
of the following resolutions : — 

" Resolved, That Congress possesses no constitutional authority 
to interfere in any way with the institution of slavery in any of the 
States of this Confederacy. 

" Resolved, That Congress ought not to interfere in any way 
with slavery in the District of Columbia. 

" And whereas, It is extremely important and desirable that the 


agitation of this subject should be finally arrested, for the purpose 
of restoring tranquillity to the public mind, your committee respect- 
fully recommend the adoption of the following additional resolu- 
tion, viz. : — 

" Resolved, That all petitions, memorials, resolutions, propositions 
or papers, relating in any way, or to any extent w^hatever, to the 
subject of slavery, or the abolition of slavery, shall, without being 
either printed or referred, be laid upon the table, and that no further 
action whatever shall be had thereon." 

When the first of these resolutions was taken up, 
Mr. Adams said, if the House would allow him five 
minutes' time, he would prove the resolution to be 
untrue. His request was denied. 

On the third resolution Mr. Adams refused to vote, 
and sent to the Speaker's chair the following declara- 
tion, demanding that it should be placed on the journal 
of the House, there to stand to the latest posterity : — 

" I hold the resolution to be a direct violation of the Constitu- 
tion of the United States, of the rules of this House, and of the 
rights of my constituents." 

Notwithstanding the rule embodied in this resolution 
virtually trampled the right of petition into the dust, 
yet it was adopted by the House, by a large majority. 
But Mr. Adams was not to be deterred by this arbitrary 
restriction, from a faithful discharge of his duty as a 
representative of the people. Petitions on the subject 
of slavery continued to be transmitted to him in in- 
creased numbers. With unwavering firmness — against 
a bitter and unscrupulous opposition, exasperated to 
the highest pitch by his pertinacity — amidst a perfect 
tempest of vituperation and abuse — he persevered in 


presenting these petitions, one by one, to the amount 
sometimes of two hundred in a day — demanding the 
action of the House on each separate petition. 

His position amid these scenes was in the highest 
degree illustrious and sublime. An old man, with the 
weight of years upon him, forgetful of the elevated 
stations he had occupied, and the distinguished honors 
received for past services, turning away from the re- 
pose which age so greatly needs, and laboring, amidst 
scorn and derision, and threats of expulsion and assas- 
sination, to maintain the sacred right of petition for the 
poorest and humblest in the land — insisting that the 
voice of a free people should be heard by their repre- 
sentatives, when they would speak in condemnation of 
human slavery and call upon them to maintain the 
principles of liberty embodied in the immortal Declar- 
ation of Independence — was a spectacle unwitnessed 
before in the history of legislation. A few specimens 
of these transactions will enable the reader to judge 
of the trials Mr. Adams was compelled to endure in 
the discharge of his duties, and also of his moral courage 
and indomitable perseverance, amid the most appalling 

On the 6th of Jan., 1837, Mr. Adams presented the petition oi 
one hundred and fifty women, whom he stated to be the wives and 
daughters of his immediate constituents, praying for the abolition 
of slavery in the District of Columbia, and moved that the petition 
be read, 

Mr. Glascock objected to its reception. 

Mr. Parks moved that the preliminary motion, on the reception ctf . 
the petition, be laid on the table, which was carried. ^ 


Mr. Adams said, that if he had understood the decision of tne 
Speaker in this case, it was not the petition itself which was laid 
upon the table, but the motion to receive. In order to save the 
time of the House, he wished to give notice that he should call up 
that motion, for decision, every day, so long as he should be per- 
mited to do so by the House ; because he should not consider hia 
duty accomplished so long as the petition was not received, and so 
long as the House had not decided that it would not receive it. 

Mr. Pinckney rose to a question of order, and inquired if there 
was now any question pending before the House ? 

The Speaker said, he had understood the gentleman from Mas- 
sachusetts as merely giving notice of a motion hereafter to be 
made. In doing so, it certainly was not in order to enter into 

Mr. Adams said, that so long as freedom of speech was allowed 
to him as a member of that House, he would call up that question 
until it should be decided. 

Mr. Adams was called to order. 

Mr. A. said, he would tlien have the honor of presenting to the 
House the petition of two hundred and twenty-eight women, the 
wives and daughters of his immediate constituents ; and as a part 
of tlie speech which he intended to make, he would take the liberty 
of reading the petition. It was not long, and would not consume 
much time. 

Mr. Glascock objected to the reception of the petition. 

Mr. Adams proceeded to read, that the petitioners, inhabitants of 
South Weymouth, in the State of Massachusetts, " impressed with 
the sinfulness of slavery, and keenly aggrieved by its existence in 
a part of our country over which Congress " 

Mr. Pinckney rose to a question of order. Had the gentleman 
from Massachusetts a right, under the rule, to read the petition? 

The Speaker said, the gentleman from Massachusetts had a 
right to make a statement of the contents of the petition. 

Mr. Pinckney desired the decision of the Speaker as to whether 
a gentleman had a right to read a petition. 

Mr. Adams said he was reading the petition as a part of his 
speech, and he took this to be one of the privileges of a member of 
the House. It was a privilege he would exercise till he should be 
deprived of it by some positive act 


The Speaker repeated that the gentleman from Massachusetts 
had a right to make a brief statement of the contents of the petition. 
It was not for the Speaker to decide whether that brief statement 
should be made in the gentleman's own language, or whether he 
ahould look over the petition, and take his statement from that. 

Mr. Adams. — At the time my friend from South Carolina 

The Speaker said the gentleman must proceed to state the con- 
tents of the petition. 

Mi: Adams. — I am doing so, sir. 

The Speaker. — Not in the opinion of the chair. 

Mr. Adams. — I was at this point of the petition — " Keenly 
aggrieved by its existence in a part of our country over which Con- 
gress possesses exclusive jurisdiction in all cases whatsoever " 

Loud cries of " Order," " Order !" 

Mr. Adams. — "Do most earnestly petition your honorable 
body " 

Mr. Chambers of Kentucky rose to a point of order. 

Mr. Adams. — " Immediately to abolish slavery in the District of 
Columbia " 

Mr. Chambers reiterated his call to order, and the Speaker 
directed Mr. Adams to take his seat. 

Mr. Adams proceeded with great rapidity of enunciation, and in a 
very loud tone of voice — " And to declare every human being free 
who sets foot upon its soil /" 

The confusion in the hall at this time was very great. The 
Speaker decided that it was not in order for a member to read a 
petition, whether it was long or short. 

Mr. Adams appealed from any decision which went to establish 
the principle that a member of the House should not have the power 
to read what he chose. He had never before heard of such a thing. 
If this practice was to be reversed, let the decision stand upon record, 
and let it appear how entirely the freedom of speech was suppressed 
in this House. If the reading of a paper was to be suppressed in 
his person, so help him God, he would only consent to it as a matter 
of record. 

Mr. Adams finished the petition. The petitioners " respectfully 
announce their intention to present the same petition yearly before 
this honorable body, that it might at least be a memorial in the hoi 
cause of human freedom that they had done what they could," 


These words were read amidst tumultuous cries for "order," 
from every part of the House. The petition was finally received, 
and laid upon the table. 

Other scenes of a still more exciting character soon 

On the 7th of February, 1837, after Mr. Adams had offered some 
two hundred or more abolition petitions, he came to a halt ; and, 
without yielding the floor, employed himself in packing up his bud- 
get. He was about resuming his seat, when he took up a paper, 
and hastily glancing at it, exclaimed, in a shrill tone — 

" Mr. Speaker, I have in my possession a petition of a somewhat 
extram-dinary character ; and I wish to inquire of the chair if it be 
in order to present it." 

" If the gentleman from Massachusetts," said the Speaker, " will 
inform the chair what the character of the petition is, it will prob- 
ably be able to decide on the subject." 

" Sir," ejaculated Mr. Adams, " the petition is signed by eleven 
slaves of the town of Fredericksburgh, in the county of Culpepper, 
in the state of Virginia. It is one of those petitions which, it has 
occurred to my mind, are not what they purport to be. It is signed 
partly by persons who cannot write, by making their marks, and 
partly by persons whose handwriting would manifest that they have 
received the education of slaves. The petition declares itself to be 
from slaves, and I am requested to present it. I will send it to the 

The Speaker (Mr. Polk,) who habitually extended to Mr. Adams 
every courtesy and kindness imaginable, was taken by surprise, and 
found himself involved in a dilemma. Giving his chair one of those 
hitches which ever denoted his excitement, he said that a petition 
from slaves was a novelty, and involved a question that he did not 
feel called upon to decide. He would like to take time to consider 
it ; and, in the meantime, would refer it to the House. 

The House was very thin at the time, and little attention was paid 
to what was going on, till the excitement of the Speaker attracted 
the attention of Mr. Dixon H. Lewis, of Alabama, who impatiently, 
and under great excitement, rose and inquired what the petition was. 

Mr. Speaker afforded the required information. Mr. Lewis, for- 
getting all discretion, whilst he frothed at the mouth, turned towards 


Mr. Adams, and ejaculated at the top of his voice, " By G-d, sir, 
this is not to be endured any longer !" 

" Treason ! treason !" screamed a half dozen other members. 
" Expel the old scoundrel ; put him out ; do not let him disgrace 
the House any longer !" 

" Get up a resolution to meet the case," exclaimed a member from 
North Carolina. 

Mr. George C. Dromgoole, who had acquired a very favorable 
reputation as a parliamentarian, was selected as the very man who, 
of all others, was most capable of drawing up a resolution that 
would meet and cover the emergency. He produced a resolution 
with a preamble, in which it was stated, substantially, that, whereas 
the Hon. John Quincy Adams, a representative from Massachusetts, 
had presented to the House of Representatives a petition signed by 
negro slaves, thus " giving color to an idea" that bondmen were capa- 
ble of exercising the right of petition, it was " Resolved, That he be 
taken to the bar of the House, and be censured by the Speaker 

Mr. Haynes said, the true motion, in his judgment, would be to 
move that tlie petition be rejected. 

Mr. Lewis hoped that no motion of that kind would come from 
any gentleman from a slaveholding section of the country. 

Mr. Haynes said he would cheerfully withdraw his motion. 

Mr. Lewis was glad the motion was withdrawn. He believed 
that the House should punish severely such an infraction of its de- 
corum and its rules ; and he called on the members from the slave- 
nolding States to come forward now and demand of the House the 
punishment of the gentleman from Massachusetts. 

j\Ir. Grantland, of Georgia, would second the motion, and go all 
lengths in support of it. 

Mr. Lewis said, that if the House would inflict no punishment 
for such flagrant violations of its dignity as this, it would be better 
for the Representatives from the slaveholding States to go home at 

Mr. Alford said, if the gentleman from Massachusetts intended 
to present this petition, the moment it was presented he should 
move, as an act of justice to the South, which he in part repre- 
sented, and which he conceived had been treated with indignity, 
that it be taken from the House and burnt ; and he hoped that every 


man who was a friend to the constitution, would support nim. 
There must be an end to this constant attempt to raise excitement, 
or the Union could not exist much longer. The moment any man 
should disgrace the Government under which he lived, by present- 
ing a petition from slaves, praying for emancipation, he hoped that 
petition would, by order of the House, be committed to the flames. 

Mr. Waddy Thompson moved the following resolution :— 

" Resolved, That the Hon. John Quincy Adams, by the attempt 
just made by him to introduce a petition purporting on its face to 
be from slaves, has been guilty of a gross disrespect to this House, 
and that he be instantly brought to the bar, to receive the severe 
censure of the Speaker." 

The idea of bringing the venerable ex-President to the bar, like 
a culprit, to receive a reprimand from a comparatively youthful 
Speaker, would be a spectacle so disgraceful, and withal so absurd, 
that the proposition met with no favor. An easier way to repri- 
mand was devised. Mr. Haynes introduced the following resolu- 
tion : — 

" Resolved, That John Quincy Adams, a Representative from the 
State of Massachusetts, has rendered himself justly liable to the 
severest censure of this House, and is censured accordingly, for 
having attempted to present to the House the petition of slaves." 

Several other resolutions and propositions, from members of 
slaveholding States, were submitted to the House ; but none proved 
satisfactory even to themselves. Mr. Adams, unmoved by the tem- 
pest which raged around him, defended himself, and the integrity of 
his purpose, with the distinguished ability and eloquence which 
characterized all his public labors. 

" In regard to the resolutions now before the House," said he, 
" as they all concur in naming me, and in charging me with high 
crimes and misdemeanors, and in calling me to the bar of the House 
to answer for my crimes, I have thought it was my duty to remain 
silent, until it should be the pleasure of the House to act either on 
one or the other of these resolutions. I suppose that if I shall be 
brought to the bar of the House, I shall not be struck mute by the 
previous question, before I have an opportunity to say a word or 
two in my own defence. ****** 

" Now, as to the fact what the petition was for, I simply state to 
tlie gentleman from Alabama, (Mr. D. H. Lewis,) who has sent to 


tlie table a resolution assuming that this petition was for the aboli- 
tion of slavery — I state to him that he is mistaken. He must 
amend his resolution ; for if the House should choose to read this 
petition, I can state to them they would find it something very much 
the reverse of that which the resolution states it to* be. And if the 
gentleman from Alabama still chooses to bring me to the bar of 
the House, he must amend his resolution in a very important par- 
ticular ; for he may probably have to put into it, that my crime has 
been for attempting to introduce the petition of slaves that slavery 
should not be abolished. ****** 

" Sir, it is well known, that from the time I entered this House, 
down to the present day, I have felt it a sacred duty to present any 
petition, couched in respectful language, from any citizen of the 
United States, be its object what it may ; be the prayer of it that in 
which I could concur, or that to which I was utterly opposed. It 
is for the sacred right of petition that 1 have adopted this course. 
******** Where is your law which says that the mean, and the 
low, and the degraded, shall be deprived of the right of petition, if 
their moral character is not good ? Where, in the land of freemen, 
was the right of petition ever placed on the exclusive basis of 
morality and virtue ? Petition is supplication — it is entreaty — it is 
prayer! And where is the degree of vice or immorality which 
shall deprive the citizen of the right to supplicate for a boon, or to 
pray for mercy ? Where is such a law to be found ? It does not 
belong to the most abject despotism ! There is no absolute monarch 
on earth, who is not compelled, by the constitution of his country, to 
receive the petitions of his people, whosoever they may be. The 
Sultan of Constantinople cannot walk the streets and refuse to re- 
ceive petitions from the meanest and vilest of the land. This is the 
law even of despotism. And what does your law say ? Does it 
say that, before presenting a petition, you shaH look into it, and 
see whether it comes from the virtuous, and the great, and the 
mighty ? No sir ; it says no such tiling. The right of petition be- 
longs to all. And so far from refusing to present a petition because 
It might come from those low in the estimation of the world, it would 
be an additional incentive, if such incentive were wanting. 

" But I must admit," continued Mr. Adams, sarcastically, " that 
when color comes into the question, there may be other consider- 
ations. It is possible that this House, which seems to consider it 


SO great a crime to attempt to offer a petition from slaves, may, for 
aught I know, say that freemen, if not of the carnation^ shall be de- 
prived of the right of petition, in the sense of the House." 

When southern members saw that, in their haste, they had not 
tarried to ascertain the nature of the petition, and that it prayed for 
the 'perpetuation, instead of the abolition of slavery, their position 
became so ludicrous, that their exasperation was greatly increased. 
At the time the petition was announced by Mr. Adams, the House 
was very thin ; but the excitement it produced soon filled it ; and, 
besides, the sergeant-at-arms had been instructed to arrest and bring 
in all absentees. The excitement commenced at about one o'clock, 
and continued until seven o'clock in the evening, when the House 
adjourned. Mr. Adams stood at his desk, resolutely refusing to be 
seated till the matter was disposed of, alleging that if he were guilty, 
he was not entitled to a seat amonsf high and honorable men. 
When Mr. Droomgoole's resolution was read to the House for its 
consideration, Mr. Adams yielded to it one of those sarcastic sneers 
which he was in the habit of giving, when provoked to satire ; and 
said — " Mr. Speaker, if I understand the resolution of the honorable 
gentleman from Virginia, it charges me with being guilty of ' giving 
color to an idea /' " The whole House broke forth in one common 
irrepressible peal of laughter. The Droomgoole resolution was 
actually laughed out of existence. The House now found that it 
had got itself in a dilemma, — that Mr. Adams was too much for it ; 
and, at last, adjourned, leaving the affair in the position in which 
they found it. 

For several days this subject continued to agitate the House. 
Mr. Adams not only warded off the virulent attacks made upon him, 
but carried the war so effectually into the camp of his enemies, that, 
becoming heartily tired of the contest, they repeatedly endeavored 
to get rid of the whole subject by laying it on the table. To this 
Mr. Adams objected. He insisted that it should be thoroughly can- 
vassed. Immense excitement ensued. Call after call of the House 
was made. Mr. Henry A. Wise, who was, at the time, engaged 
on the Reuben Whitney affair, was sent for. with an accompanying 
message that the stability of the Union was in danger ! 

Breathless, and impatient, Mr. Wise made his appearance, and 
inquired what was the matter. He was informed. 

•' And is that all ?" ejaculated Mr. Wise. " The gentleman from 


Massachusetts has presented a petition signed by slaves ! Well, 
sir, and what of that ? Is anybody harmed by it ? Sir, in my 
opinion, slaves are the very persons wlio should petition. Mine, 
sir, pray to me, and I listen to them ; and shall not the feeble sup- 
plicate ? Sir, I see no danger, — the country, I believe, is safe." 

At length the exciting subject was brought to a termination, by 
the passage of the following preamble and resolutions ; much 
softened, it will be seen, in comparison with the measures first 
proposed : — 

" An inquiry having been made by an honorable gentleman from 
Massachusetts, whether a paper which he held in his hand, pur- 
porting to be a petition from certain slaves, and declaring themselves 
to be slaves, came within the order of the House of the 18th of 
January,* and the said paper not having been received by the 
Speaker, he stated that in a case so extraordinary and novel, he 
would take the advice and counsel of the House. 

" Resolved, That this House cannot receive said petition without 
disregarding its own dignity, the rights of a large class of citizens 
of the South and West, and the Constitution of the United States. 

" Resolved, That slaves do not possess the right of petition secured 
to the citizens of the United States by the constitution." 

The slave petition is believed to have been a counterfeit, manu- 
factured by certain members from slaveholding States, and was sent 
to Mr. Adams by the way of experiment — with the double design 
of ascertaining if he could be imposed upon ; and, if the deception 
succeeded, those who got it up were curious to know if the ven- 
erable statesman would redeem his pledge, and present a petition, 
no matter who it came from. He was too wily not to detect the 
plot at the outset ; he knew that all was a hoax ; but, he resolved 
to present the paper, and then turn the tables on its authors.f 

On the 20th of December, 1838, Mr. Adams presented a petition 
praying for the establishment of international relations with the 
Republic of Hayti, and moved that it be referred to the Committee 

* This order was the same as that adopted by the House on the 18th 
of May, 1836. See p. 281. 

t Reminiscences of the late John Q,uincy Adams, by an Old Colony 


on Foreign Affairs, with instructions to consider and report thereon. 
This motion was opposed with great warmth by members from 
slaveholding States. Mr. Adams was repeatedly interrupted during 
the delivery of the brief speech he made on the occasion. 

Mr. Bynum insisted that the gentleman from Massachusetts 
should take his seat, under the rule. If, however, he was per- 
mitted to proceed, Mr. B. hoped some gentleman of the slaveholding 
portion of the House would be allowed to answer him. 

Mr. Adams. — Sir, I hope so. Only open our mouths, gentlemen; 
that is all we ask, and you may answer as much as you please. 

Mr. Bynum. — I object to the gentleman proceeding further with 
his observations, except by consent of the House. If we have 
rules we had better either obey them or burn them. 

The House voted, by 114 to 47, to allow Mr. Adams to proceed. 

In continuing his speech, Mr. Adams said, that even admitting 
the object of the petitioners is abolition, as has been alleged, they 
had the right to petition for that too ; for every individual in the 
country had a right to be an abolitionist. The great men of the 
Revolution were abolitionists, and if any man denies it, I will prove it. 

Mr. Wise. — I deny it. 

The Speaker said this was out of order. 

Ml'. Adams. — I feel obliged to the gentleman from Virginia for 
giving me the invitation, and I will now prove what I say. 

The Speaker said this did not form any part of the question 
before the House. 

Mr. Adams. — George Washington, in articulo mortis, by his last 
will and testament, before God, his Creator, emancipated his slaves. 

Mr. Wise. — Because he had no children. 

The Speaker again interposed, and said the gentleman could not 
go into that question. It was entirely out of order. 

Mr. Adams. — I did but accept ihe invitation of the gentleman 
from Virginia. I do not wish to go further. I simply take the 
position that George Washington was an abolitionist in the most 
extensive sense of the term ; and I defy any man in this House to 
the discussion, and to prove to the contrary if he can. 

The Speaker called Mr. Adams to order. 

Mr. Adams. — Well, sir, I was stating the high authority which 
is to be found for the principles of abolition. Does the gentleman 
from Virginia deny that Thomas Jefferson was an abolitionist ? 


Mr. Wise. — I do. 

The Speaker again interposed. 

Mr. Adams. — Well, sir, then I come back to my position, that 
every man in this country has a right to be an abolitionist, and that 
in being so he offends no law, but, in my opinion, obeys the most 
sacred of all laws. 

The motion to instruct the committee, was finally laid upon the 

Mr. Adams was evidently anxious to engage in a 
legitimate discussion, in the House of Representatives, 
of the subject of slavery in all its bearings, influences, 
and results. Such a discussion, coolly and deliberately 
entered upon, by men of the most distinguished abili- 
ties in the nation, could not but have been pregnant 
with lasting good, not only to the North, but also to 
the South and the entire country. To afford oppor- 
tunity for a dignified and profitable investigation of 
this momentous topic, Mr. Adams, on the 25th of Feb., 
1839, proposed the following amendments to the Con- 
stitution of the United States : — 

" Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives in Cori' 
gress assembled, two-thirds of both Houses concurring therein, That 
the following amendments to the Constitution of the United States 
be proposed to the several States of the Union, which, when ratified 
by three-fourths of the legislatures of said States, shall become and 
be a part of the Constitution of the United States : — 

" 1. From and after the 4th day of July, 1842, there shall be 
throughout the United States no hereditary slavery ; but on and 
after that day, every child born within the United States, their terri- 
tories or jurisdiction, shall be born free. 

" 2. With the exception of the territory of Florida, there shall 
henceforth never be admitted into this Union, any State, the con- 
stitution of which shall tolerate within the same the existence of 

M ^^ 


" 3. From and after the 4th day of July, 1845, there shall be 
neither slavery nor slave trade, at the seat of Government of the 
United States." 

Instead of meeting and canvassing, in a manly and 
honorable manner, the vitally important question in- 
volved in these propositions, the slaveholding Repre- 
sentatives objected to its coming before the House for 
consideration, in any form whatever. In this instance, 
as in most others, where the merits of slavery are in- 
volved, the supporters of that institution manifested a 
timidity, a want of confidence in its legitimacy, of the 
most suspicious nature. If slavery is lawful and de- 
fensible — if it violates no true principle among men, 
no human right bestowed by the Creator — if it can be 
tolerated and perpetuated in harmony with republican 
institutions and our Declaration of Independence — 
if its existence in the bosom of the Confederacy 
involves no incongruity, and is calculated to promote 
the prosperity and stability of the Union, or the wel- 
fare of the slaveholding States themselves — these are 
facts which can be made evident to the world, by the 
unsurpassed 'abilities of southern statesmen. Why, 
then, object to a candid and fearless investigation of 
the subject ? But if slavery is the reverse of all this — 
if it is a moral poison, contaminating and blighting 
connected with it, and containing the seeds 
dissolution sooner or later — whv should 
ous politicians, prudent and honest men, 
ntious Christians, shut their eyes and turn 


away from a ikct so appalling and so dangerous. No 
man of intelligence can hope, in this age of the world, 
to perpetuate that which is wrong and destructive, by 
bravado and threatening — by refusing to look it in the 
face, or to allow others to scrutinize it. Error must 
pass away. Truth, however unpalatable, or however 
it may be obscured for a season, must eventually tri- 
umph. The very exertions of its supporters to perpe- 
tuate wrong, will but hasten its death. 

" Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again ; 
Th' eternal years of God are hers : 
But Error, wounded, writhes with pain, 
And dies among her worshippers." 

Notwithstanding the course Mr. Adams felt himself 
compelled to pursue led him frequently into collision 
with a large portion of the Members of the House of 
Representatives, and caused them sometimes, in the 
heat of excitement, to forget the deference due his 
age, his experience, and commanding abilities, yet there 
was ever a deep, under-current feeling of veneration 
for him, pervading all hearts. Those who were ex- 
cited to the highest pitch of frenzy by his proceedings, 
could not but admire the singleness of his purpose, and 
his undaunted courage in discharging his duties. On 
all subjects aside from slavery, his influence in the 
House has never been surpassed. Whenever he arose 
to speak, it was a signal for a general abandonment of 
listlessness and inattention. Members dropped their 


newspapers and pamphlets — knots of consulting politi- 
cians in different parts of the Hall were dissolved — 
Representatives came hastily in from lobbies, com- 
mittee-rooms, the surrounding grounds — and all eagerly 
clustered around his chair to listen to words of wis- 
dom, patriotism, and truth, as they dropped burning 
from the lips of " the old man eloquent !" The con- 
fidence placed in him in emergencies, was unbounded. 
A case in point is afforded in the history of the diffi- 
culty occasioned by the double delegation from New 

On the opening of the 26th Congress, in December, 1839, in 
consequence of a two-fold delegation from New-Jersey, the House 
was unable, for some time, to complete its organization, and pre- 
sented to the country and the world the perilous and discreditable 
aspect of the assembled Representatives of the people, unable to form 
themselves into a constitutional body. On first assembling, the 
House has no officers, and the Clerk of the preceding Congress acts, 
by usage, as chairman of the body, till a Speaker is chosen. On 
this occasion, after reaching the State of New Jersey, the acting 
Clerk, declined to proceed in calling the roll, and refused to enter- 
tain any of the motions which were made for the purpose of extri- 
cating the House from its embarrassment. Many of the ablest and 
most judicious members bad addressed the House in vain, and there 
was nothing but confusion and disorder in prospect. 

The fourth day opened, and still confusion was triumphant. 
But the hour of disenthrallment was at hand, and a scene was 
presented which sent the mind back to those days when Cromwell 
uttered the exclamation — " Sir Harry Vane ! wo unto yon, Sir Harry 
Vane !" — and in an instant dispersed the famous Rump Parliament. 

Mr. Adams, from the opening of this scene of confusion and 
anarchy, had maintained a profound silence. He appeared to be 
engaged most of the time in writing. To a common observer, he 
seemed to be reckless of everything around him — but nothing, not 
the slightest incident, escaped him. The fourth day of the struggle 


had now commenced ; Mr. Hu<rli II. Garland, the Clerk, was directed 
to call the roll ao-ain. 

He commenced with Maine, as was usual in those days, and was 
proceeding toward Massachusetts. I turned, and saw that Mr. 
Adams was ready to get the floor at the earliest moment possible. 
His keen eye was riveted on the Clerk ; his hands clasped the front 
edge of his desk, where he always placed them to assist him in 
rising. He looked, in the language of Otway, like the 

" fowler, eager for his prey." 

" New Jersey !" ejaculated Mr. Hugh H. Garland, " and the 
Clerk has to repeat that " 

Mr. Adams sprang to the floor ! 

" I rise to interrupt the Clerk," was his first ejaculation. 

" Silence, silence," resounded through the hall ; " hear him, heai 
him ! Here what he has to say ; hear John Quincy Adams !" was 
the unanimous ejaculation on all sides. 

In an instant, the most profound silence reigned throughout the 
Hall — you might have heard a leaf of paper fall in any part of it — 
and every eye was riveted on the venerable Nestor of Massachusetts 
— the purest of statesmen, and the noblest of men ! He paused for 
a moment ; and, having given Mr. Garland a 

• withering look !" 

he proceeded to address the multitude : 

" It was not my intention," said he, " to take any part in these 
extraordinary proceedings. I had hoped that this House would suc- 
ceed in organizing itself; that a Speaker and Clerk would be 
elected, and that the ordinary business of legislation would be pro- 
gressed in. This is not the time, or place, to discuss the merits of 
the conflicting claimants for seats from New Jersey ; that subject 
belongs to the House of Representatives, which, by the constitution, 
is made the ultimate arbiter of the qualifications of its members. 
But what a spectacle we here present ! We degrade and disgrace 
ourselves ; we degrade and disgrace our constituents and the 
country. We do not, and cannot organize ; and why ? Because 
the Clerk of this House, the mere Clerk, whom we create, whom we 
employ, and whose existence depends upon our will, usurps the 
throne^ and sets us, the Representatives, the vicegerents of the whole 


American people, at defiance, and holds us in contempt ! And what 
is this Clerk of yours ? Is he to control the destinies of sixteen 
millions of freemen ? Is he to suspend, by his mere negative, the 
functions of Government, and put an end to this Congress ? He re- 
fuses to call the roll ! It is in your power to compel him to call it, 
if he will not do it voluntarily. [Here he was interrupted by a 
member, who said that he was authorized to say that compulsion 
could not reach the Clerk, who liad avowed that he would resign, 
rather than call the State of New Jersey.] Well, sir, then let him 
resign," continued ]Mr. Adams, " and w^e may possibly discover some 
way by which we can get along, without the aid of his all-powerful 
talent, learning and genius. If we cannot organize in any other 
way — if tliis Clerk of yours will not consent to our discharging the 
trusts confided to us by our constituents, then let us imitate the ex- 
ample of the Virginia House of Burgesses, which, when the colonial 
Governor Dinwiddie ordered it to disperse, refused to obey the im- 
perious and insulting mandate, and, like men " 

The multitude could not contain or repress their enthusiasm any 
longer, but saluted the eloquent and indignant speaker, and intercept- 
ed him with loud and deafening cheers, which seemed to shake the 
capitol to its centre. The very Genii of applause and enthusiasm 
seemed to float in the atmosphere of the Hall, and every heart ex- 
panded with an indescribable feeling of pride and exultation. The 
turmoil, the darkness, the very " chaos of anarchy," which had, for 
three successive days, pervaded the American Congress, was dis- 
pelled by the magic, the talismanic eloquence of a single man ; and, 
once more the wheels of Government and of Legislation were put 
in motion.* 

Having, by this pow'erful appeal, brought the yet unorganized as- 
sembly to a perception of its hazardous position, he submitted a mo- 
tion requiring the acting Clerk to proceed in calling the roll. This 
and similar motions had already been made by other members. The 
difficulty was, that the acting Clerk declined to entertain them. Ac- 
cordingly, Mr. Adams was immediately interrupted by a burst of 
voices demanding, " How shall the question be put ?" " Who will 
put the question ?" The voice of Mr. Adams v/as heard above the 
tumult, " I intend to put the question myself !" That word brought 
order out of chaos. There was the master mind. 

»■ I I III ■■ ■■ HI.- ■ I I -I — ■ ■ MM. — ™ ■ M— ^»^ ■- 

* Reminiscences — by an Old Colony Man. 


As soon as the multitude had recovered itself, and the excitement 
of irrepressible enthusiasm had abated, Mr. Richard Barnwell Rhett, 
of South Carolina, leaped upon one of the desks, waved his liand, 
and exclaimed : 

" I move that the Honorable John Quincy Adams take the chair 
of the Speaker of this House, and officiate as presiding officer, till 
the House be organized by the election of its constitutional officers ! 
As many as are agreed to this will say ay ; those " 

He had not an opportunity to complete the sentence — " those who 
are not agreed, will say no," — for one universal, deafening, thunder- 
ing «2/, responded to the nomination. 

Hereupon, it was moved and ordered that Lewis Williams, of 
Nortli Carolina, and Richard Barnwell Rhett, conduct John Quincy 
Adams to the chair. 

Well did Mr. Wise, of Virginia, say, " Sir, I regard it as the 
proudest hour of your life ; and if, when you shall be gathered to 
vour fathers, I were asked to select the words which, in my judg- 
ment, are best calculated to give at once the character of the man, 
I would inscribe upon your tomb this sentence, ' I will put the ques- 
tion myself.' "* 

* In a public address, Mr. Adams once quoted the well known words? 
of Tacitus, Annal. vi, 39 — " Par negotiis neque supra" — applying them 
to a distinguished man, lately deceased. A lady wrote to inquire 
tvhence tliey came. Mr. Adams informed her, and added, that they 
could not be adequately translated in less than seven words in English. 
The lady replied that they might be well translated in five — Equal to, 
not above, duty — but better in three — John Quincy Adams. — 3Iassa- 
ckusetts Quarterly Review. 









It would be impossible, in the limit prescribed to 
these pages, to detail the numerous scenes and occur- 
rences of a momentous nature, in which Mr. Adams 
took a prominent part during his services in the House 
of Representatives. The path he marked out for him- 
self at the commencement of his congressional career, 
was pursued with unfaltering fidelity to the close of 
life. His was the rare honor of devoting himself, un- 
reservedly, to his legitimate duties as a Representative 
of the people while in Congress, and to nothing else. 
He believed the halls of the Capitol were no place for 
political intrigue ; and that a member of Congress, in- 
stead of studying to shape his course to make political 
capital or to subserve party ends, should devote him- 
self rigidly and solely to the interests of his constitu- 


ents. His practice corresponded with his theory. His 
speeches, his votes, his entire labors in Congress, were 
confined strictly to practical subjects, vitally connected 
with the great interests of our common country, and 
had no political or party bearing, other than such as 
truth and public good might possess. 

His hostility to slavery and the assumptions and 
usurpations of slave power in the councils of the nation, 
continued to the day of his death. At the commence- 
ment of each session of Congress, he demanded that 
the infamous " gag rule," which forbid the presentation 
of petitions on the subject of slavery, should be abol- 
ished. But despite its continuance, he persisted in 
handing in petitions from the people of every class, 
complexion and condition. He did not hesitate to lay 
before the House of Representatives a petition from 
Haverhill, Mass., for the dissolution of the Union I 
Although opposed in his whole soul to the prayer of 
the petitioners, yet he believed himself sacredly bound 
to listen with due respect to every request of the peo- 
ple, when couched in respectful terms. 

In vain did the supporters of slavery endeavor to 
arrest his course, and to seal his lips in silence. In 
vain did they threaten assassination — expulsion from 
the House — indictment before the grand jury of the 
District of Columbia. In vain did they declare that he 
should '* be made amenable to another tribunal^ [mob- 
law] and as an incendiary, be brought to condign pun- 
ishment." *' My life on it," said a southern member 


"if he presents that petition from slaves, we shall yet 
see him within the walls of the penitentiary." All 
these attempts at brow- beating moved him not a tittle. 
Firm he stood to his duty, despite the storms of angry 
passion which howled around him, and with withering 
rebukes repelled the assaults of hot-blooded opponents, 
as the proud old headland, jutting far into ocean's 
bosom, tosses high, in worthless spray, the dark moun- 
tain billows which in wrath beat upon it. • ^ 

" Do the gentlemen from the South," said he, " think they can 
frighten me by their threats ? If that be their object, let me tell 
them, sir, they have mistaken their man. I am not to be frightened 
from the discharge of a sacred duty, by their indignation, by their 
violence, nor, sir, by all the grand juries in the universe. I have 
done only my duty ; and I shall do it again under the same circum- 
stances, even though they recur to-morrow." 

" Though aged, he was so iron of limb, 
None of the youth could cope with him ; 
And the foes whom he Bingly kept at bay, 
Outnumbered his thiu hairs of silver grey." 

Nor was Mr. Adams without encouragement in his 
trying position. His immediate constituents, at their 
primary meetings, repeatedly sent up a cheering voice 
in strong and earnest resolutions, approving heartily 
his course, and urging him to perseverance therein. 
The Legislatures of Massachusetts and Vermont, 
rallied to his support. In solemn convocation they 
protested against the virtual annihilation of the right 
of petition — against slavery and the slave trade in the 
District of Columbia — gave their entire sanction to the 
principles advocated by Mr. Adams, and pledged their 


countenance to all measures calculated to sustain 

Large bodies of people in the Eastern, Northern, 
and Middle States, sympathized with him in his sup- 
port of the most sacred of privileges bestowed on man 
Representative after Representative wrere sent to Con- 
gress, who gathered around him, and co-operated with 
him in his holy warfare against the iron rule which 
slavery had been enabled to establish in the national 
Legislature. With renewed energy he resisted the 
mighty current which was undermining the founda- 
tions of the Republic, and bearing away upon its turbid 
waters the liberties of the people. And he resisted 
not in vain. 

The brave old man lived to see his labors, in this 
department of duty, crowned with abundant success. 
One after another the cohorts ol" slavery gave way 
before the incessant assaults, the unwearied persever- 
ance, of Mr. Adams, and the faithful compeers who 
were sent by the people to his support. At length, in 
1845, the obnoxious *'gag rule'' was rescinded, and 
Congress consented to receive, and treat respectfully, 
all petitions on the subject of slavery. This was a 
moral triumph which amply compensated Mr. Adams 
for all the labors he had put forth, and for all the 
trials he had endured to achieve it. 

Yes ; he " lived to hear that subject which of all others had been 
forbidden an entrance into the Halls of Congress, fairly broached. 
He lived to listen, with a delight all his own, to a high-souled, whole- 


hearted speech on the slave question, from his colleagne, Mr. Pal« 
frey — a speech, of which it is not too high praise to say, that it 
would not have disparaged the exalted reputation of Mr. Adams, 
had he made it himself. Aye, more, he lived to see the v^^hole 
House of Representatives — the members from the South, not less 
than those from the North, attentive and respectful listeners to that 
speech of an hour's length, on the political as well as moral aspect 
of slavery in this Republic. What a triumph ! At the close of 
it, the moral conqueror exclaimed, ' God be praised ; the seals are 
broken, the door is open.' "* 

If anything were wanting to crown the fame of Mr. 
Adams, in the last days of life, with imperishable honor, 
or to add, if possible, new brilliancy to the beams of 
his setting sun, it is found in his advocacy of the free- 
dom of the Amistad slaves. 

A ship-ioad of negroes had been stolen from Africa, 
contrary to the law of nations, of humanity and of 
God, and surreptitiously smuggled, in the night, into 
the Island of Cuba. This act was piracy^ according to 
the law of Spain, and of all Governments in Christen- 
dom, and the perpetrators thereof, had they been de- 
tected, would have been punished with death. Imme- 
diately after the landing of these unfortunate Africans, 
about thirty-six of them were purchased of the slave- 
pirates, by two Spaniards named Don Jose Ruiz and 
Don Pedro Montes, who shipped them for Guanaja, 
Cuba, in the schooner " Amistad.*' When three days 
out from Havana, the Africans rose, killed the captain 
and crew, and took possession of the vessel — sparing 
the lives of their purchasers, Ruiz and Montes. This 

♦ Rev. S, J. May. 


transaction was unquestionably justifiable on the part 
of the negroes. They had been stolen from their 
native land — had fallen into the hands of pirates and 
robbers, and reduced to abject slavery. According to 
the first law of nature — the law of self-defence — im- 
planted in the bosom of every human being by the 
Creator, they were justified in taking any measures 
necessary to restore them to the enjoyment of that 
freedom which was theirs by birthright. 

The negroes being unable to manage the schooner, 
compelled Ruiz and Montes to navigate her, and 
directed them to shape her course for Africa; for it 
was their design to return to their native land. But 
they were deceived by the two Spaniards, who brought 
the schooner to the coast of the United States, where 
she was taken possession of by Lieut. Gedney, of the 
U. S. surveying brig Washington, a few miles offMon- 
tauk Point, and brought into New London, Conn. The 
two Spaniards claimed the Africans as their property ; 
and the Spanish Minister demanded of the President 
of the United States, that they be delivered up to the 
proper authorities, and taken back to Havana, to be 
tried for piracy and murder. The matter was brought 
before the District Court of Connecticut. 

In the mean time President Van Buren ordered the 
U. S. schooner Grampus, Lieut. John S. Paine, to 
repair to New Haven, to be in readiness to convey 
the Africans to Havana, should such be the decision 
of the Court. But the Court decided that the Govern- 


ment of the United States had no authority to return 
them into slavery ; and directed that they be conveyed 
in one of our.pubhc ships to the shores of Africa, from 
whence they had but recently been torn away. From 
this decision the U. S. District Attorney appealed to 
the Supreme Court of the United States. 

These transactions attracted the attention of the 
whole people of the Union, and naturally excited the 
sympathy of the masses, pro and con, as they were 
favorable or unfavorable to the institution of slavery. 
Who should defend, in the Supreme Court, these poor 
outcasts — ignorant, degraded, wretched — who, fired 
with a noble energy, had burst the shackles of slavery, 
and by a wave of fortune had been thrown into the 
midst of a people professing freedom, 3'et keeping their 
feet on the necks of millions of slaves ? The eyes of 
all the friends of human rights turned instinctively to 
John Quincy Adams. Nor were their expectations 
disappointed. Without hesitation he espoused the 
cause of the Amistad negroes. At the age of seventy- 
four, he appeared in the Supreme Court of the United 
States to advocate their cause. He entered upon this 
labor with the enthusiasm of a youthful barrister, and 
displayed forensic talents, a critical knowledge of law, 
and of the inalienable rights of man, which would have 
added to the renown of the most eminent jurists of 
the day. 

" When he went to the Supreme Court, after an 
absence of thirty years, and arose to defend a body of 


friendless negroes, torn from their home and most un- 
justly held in thrall — when he asked the Judges to 
excuse him at once both for the trembling faults of age 
and the inexperience of youth, having labored so long 
elsewhere that he had forgotten the rules of court — 
when he summed up the conclusion of the whole mat- 
ter, and brought before those judicial but yet moisten- 
ing eyes, the great men whom he had once met there — 
Chase, Gushing, Martin, Livingston, and Marshal him- 
self; and while he remembered that they were *gone, 
gone, all gone,' remembered also the eternal Justice 
that is never gone — the sight w^as sublime. It was 
not an old patrician of Rome, who had been Consul, 
Dictator, coming out of his honored retirement at the 
Senate's call, to stand in the Forum to levy new 
armies, marshal them to victory afresh, and gain 
thereby new laurels for his brow ; but it was a plain 
citizen of America, who had held an office far greater 
than that of Consul, King, or Dictator, his hand red- 
dened by no man's blood, expecting no honors, but 
coming in the name of justice, to plead for the slave, 
for the poor barbarian negro of Africa, for Cinque and 
Grabbo, for their deeds comparing them to Harmodius 
and Aristogeiton, whose classic memory made each 
bosom thrill. That was worth all his honors — it was 
worth while to live fourscore years for that."* 

This effort of Mr. Adams was crowned with com- 
plete success. The Supreme Court decided that the 

* Theodore Parker. 


Africans were entitled to their freedom, and ordered 
them to be liberated. In due time they were enabled, 
by the assistance of the charitable, to sail for Africa, 
and take with them many of the implements of civil- 
ized life. They arrived in safety at Sierre Leone, and 
were allowed once more to minde with their friends, 
and enjoy God's gift of freedom, in a Pagan land — 
having fortunately escaped from a cruel and life-long 
bondage, in the midst of a Christian people. 

In reply to a letter requesting Mr. Adams to write 
out his argument in this case, he concludes as follows : 
*' I shall endeavor, as you desire, to write out, in full 
extent, my argument before the Court, in which all 
this was noticed and commented upon. If it has no 
other effect, I hope it will at least have that of admon- 
ishing the free people of this Union to keep perpetually 
watchful eyes upon every act of their executive ad- 
ministration, having any relation to the subject of 

In availing the country of the benefit of the " Smith- 
sonian Bequest," and in founding the ''Smithsonian In- 
stitute" at Washington, Mr. Adams took an active part. 
He repeatedly called the attention of Congress to the 
subject, until he succeeded in causing a bill to be 
passed providing for the establishment of the Institute. 
He was appointed one of the Regents of the Institute, 
which office he held until his death. 


In the summer of 1843, Mr. Adams visited Lebanon 
Springs, N. Y., for the benefit of his health, which had 
become somewhat impaired, and also the health of a 
cherished member of his family. He designed to 
devote only four or five days to this journey ; but he 
was so highly pleased with the small portion of the 
State of New York he saw at Lebanon Springs, that 
he was induced to proceed further. He visited Sara- 
toga, Lake George, " Lower Canada, Montreal and 
Quebec. Returning, he ascended the St. Lawrence 
and the Lakes as far as Niagara Falls and Buflfalo, 
and by the way of Rochester, Auburn, Utica and 
Albany, sought his home in Quincy with health greatly 

Although Mr. Adams had many bitter enemies — - 
made so by his fearless independence, and the stern 
integrity with which he discharged the public duties 
entrusted to him — yet in the hearts of the people he 
ever occupied the highest position. They not only 
respected and admired the politician, the statesman, 
but they venerated the man ! they loved him for his 
purity, his philanthropy, his disinterested patriotism, 
his devotion to freedom and human ricrhts. All thi's 
was manifested durino; his tour through New York. 
It was marked in its whole extent by demonstrations 
of the highest attention and respect from people of 
all parties. Public greetings, processions, celebrations, 
met him and accompanied him at every step of his 
journey. Never since the visit of La Fayette, had 


such an anxious desire to honor a great and good man 
been manifested by the entire mass of the people. 
His progress was one continued triumphal procession. 
** I may say," exclaimed Mr. Adams, near the close of 
his tour, " without being charged with pride or vanity, 
I have come not alone, for the whole people of the 
State of New York have been my companions !" 

At Buffalo he was received with every possible 
demonstration of respect. The national ensign was 
streaming from an hundred masts, and the wharves, 
and the decks and rigging of the vessels, were crowded 
by thousands anxious to catch a glimpse of the re- 
nowned statesman and patriot, who was greeted by 
repeated cheers. Hon. Millard Fillmore addressed 
him with great eloquence. The following is the con- 
clusion of his speech : — 

" You see around you, sir, no political partisans seeking to pro- 
mote some sinister purpose ; but you see here assembled the people 
of our infant city, without distinction of party, sex, age, or con- 
dition — all, all anxiously vieing with each other to show their 
respect and esteem for your public services and private worth. 
Here are gathered, in this vast multitude of what must appear to 
you strange faces, thousands whose hearts have vibrated to the 
chord of sympathy which your written speeches have touched. 
Here is reflecting age, and ardent youth, and lisping childhood, to 
all of whom your venerated name is as dear as household words — 
all anxious to feast their eyes by a sight of that extraordinary and 
venerable man, of whom they have heard, and read, and thought so 
much — all anxious to hear the voice of that ' old man eloquent,^ on 
whose lips wisdom has distilled her choicest nectar. Here, sir, you 
see them all, and read in their eager and joy-gladdened countenances, 
and brightly-beaming eyes, a welcome — a thrice-told, heart-felt, 
soul-stirring welcome to 'the man whom they delight to honor. 


Mr. Adams responded to this speech in a strain 
of most interesting remarks. He commenced as 
follows : — 

" I must request your indulgence for a moment's pause to take 
breath. If you inquire why I ask this indulgence, it is because 
I am so overpowered by the eloquence of my friend, the chairman 
of the Committee of Ways and Means, (whom I have been so long 
accustomed to refer to in that capacity, that, with your permission, I 
will continue so to denominate him now,) that I have no words left to 
answer him. For so liberal has he been in bestowing that eloquence 
upon me which he himself possesses in so eminent a degree, that 
while he was ascribing to me talents so far above my own con- 
sciousness in that regard, I was all the time imploring the god of 
eloquence to give me, at least at this moment, a few words to justify 
him before you in making that splendid panegyric which he has 
been pleased to bestow upon me ; and that the flattering picture 
which he has presented to you, may not immediately be defaced 
before your eyes by what you should hear from me. ****** 

In concluding his remarks he said : — " Of your attachment to 
moral principle I have this day had another and pleasing proof in 
the dinner of which I have partaken in the steamer, in which, by 
your kindness, I have been conveyed to this place. It was a sump- 
tuous dinner, but at v^^hich temperance was the presiding power, 
congratulate you on the evidence there exhibited of your attach- 
ment to moral principle, in your co-operation in that great move- 
ment which is promoting the happiness and elevation of man in 
every quarter of the globe. 

" And here you will permit me to allude to an incident which has 
occurred in my recent visit to Canada, in which I perceived the co- 
operation of the people of that Province in the same great moral 
reformation. While at Quebec, I visited the falls of Montmorenci, 
a cataract which, but for yours, would be among the greatest won- 
ders of nature. In going to it, I passed through the parish of Beau- 
port, and there, by the side of the way, I saw a column with an in- 
scription upon its pedestal, which I had the curiosity to stop and 
read. It was erected by the people of Beauport in gratitude to the 
Virgin, for her goodness in promoting the cause of temperance in 


that parish. Perhaps I do not sufficiently sympathize with the 
people of Beauport in attributing to the Virgin so direct an influence 
upon this moral reform ; but lq the spirit with which they erected 
that monument I do most cordially sympathize with them. For, 
under whatever influence the cause may be promoted, the cause 
itself can never fail to make its votaries wiser and better men. I 
cannot make a speech. My heart is too full, and my voice too 
feeble. Farewell ! And with that farewell, mav the blessings of 
heaven be upon you throughout your lives !" 

Mr. Adams was greatly delighted with his visit to 
Niagara Falls. A letter- writer thus describes it : — 

" Mr. Adams seems incapable of fatigue, either physical or mental. 
After a drive in the morning to Lewiston, he stopped, on his return 
to the Falls, at the whirlpool. The descent to the water's edge, 
which is not often made, is, as you will remember, all but vertical, 
down a steep of some three hundred and sixty feet. One of the 
party was about going down, when Mr. Adams remarked that he 
would accompany him. Gen. Porter and the other gentlemen 
present remonstrated, and told him it was a very severe under- 
taking for a young and hearty man, and that he would find it, in 
such a hot day, quite impracticable. He seemed, however, to know 
his capacities ; and this old man, verging on four score years, not 
only made the descent, but clambered over almost impracticable 
rocks along the margin of the river, to obtain the various views pre- 
sented at different points. The return was not easy, but he was 
quite adequate to the labor ; and after resting a few minutes at the 
summit, resumed his ride, full of spirits and of animated and in- 
structive conversation. After dinner, he crossed over to Goat 
Island, and beheld the cataract from the various points, and con- 
tinued his explorations until all was obscured by darkness. He 
seemed greatly impressed by the wonderful contrast presented by 
the scene of rage and repose^-of the wild and furious dashing of 
the mighty river down the rapids, with its mad plunge over the 
precipice — and the sullen stillness of the abyss of waters below. 
I wish I could repeat to you his striking conversation during these 
rambles, replete with brilliant classical allusiofis, historical illustra- 
tions, and the most minute, and as it se«med to me, universal infor- 


mation. ****** I sincerely concur with the worthy captain of 
one of our steamboats, who SEiid to me the other day, — ' Oh, that we 
could take the engine out of the old " Adams,"' and put it into a new 
hull !' " 

During his visit at the Falls, Mr. Adams, on a Sab- 
bath morning, accompanied by Gen. Porter, visited the 
remnant of the Tuscarora Indians, and attended di- 
vine service in their midst. At the conclusion of the 
sermon, Mr. Adams made a brief address to the Indians, 
which is thus described by the letter-writer alluded to 
above : — 

" Mr. Adams alluded to his advanced acre, and said this was the 
first time he had ever looked upon their beautiful, fields and forests 
— that he was truly happy to meet them there and join with them in 
the worship of our common Parent — reminded them that in years 
past he had addressed them from the position which he then occu- 
pied, in language, at once that of his station and his heart, as ' his 
children' — and that now, as a private citizen, he hailed them in terms 
of equal warmth and endearment, as his ' brethren and sisters.' 
He alluded, whh a simple eloquence which seemed to move the 
Indians much, to the equal care and love with which God regards 
all his children, whether -savage or civilized, and to the common 
destiny which awaits them hereafter, however various their lot here. 
He touched briefly and forcibly on the topics of the sermon which 
they had heard, and concluded with a beautiful and touching ben- 
ediction upon them." 

At Rochester immense multitudes assembled to re- 
ceive Mr. Adams. He was welcomed in an eloquent 
address from the Mayor of the city. The following 
are a few extracts from the reply of Mr. Adams : — 

" Mr. INIayor and Fellow-citizens : — I fear you expect from me a 
speech. Tf it were in my power, oppressed as I am with mhigled 


astonishment and gratitude at what I have experienced and now see 
of your kindness, to make a speech, I would gratify you with one 
adorned with all the chaste yet simple eloquence which are com- 
bined in the address to which you have just listened from your worthy 
Mayor. But it is not in my power. You may probably think there 
is some affectation on my part, in pretending inability to address 
you, knowing as many of you do, that I have often addressed as- 
semblies like this. But I hope for greater indulgence from you 
than this. I trust you will consider that I have seen and spoken to 
multitudes like that now before me, but that these multitudes had 
frowning faces. Those I could meet, and to those I could speak. 
But to you, whose every face is expressive of generous affection — 
to you, in whose every countenance I see kindness and friendship— 
I cannot speak. It is too much for me. It overcomes my powers 
of speech. It is a new scene to me. ****** 

" Amongst the sentiments which I have expressed, and the obser- 
vations which I have made during my brief tour through this portion 
of your State, it was impossible for me to forego a constant com- 
parison with what New York was in other days, and what it is 
now. I first set my feet upon the soil of the now Empire State, in 
1785. I then visited the city of New York, — at that time a town 
of 18,000 inhabitants. I tarried, while in that city, at the house of 
John Jay — a man whom I name, and whom all will remember, as 
one of the most illustrious of the distinguished patriots who carried 
our beloved country through the dark period of the Revolution. Mr. 
Jay, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, under the Congress of the 
Federation, was laying the foundation of a house in Broadway, but 
which was separated by the distance of a quarter of a mile from any 
other dwelling. At that time, being eighteen years of age, I received 
an invitation to visit western New York ; and I have regretted 
often, but never more than now, that I had not accepted that invita- 
tion. Oh ! what would I not have given to have seen this part of 
this great State then, that I might be able to contrast it with what it 
now IS. ***** 

" It has seemed to me as if in this reofion the God of nature in- 
tended to make a more sublime display of his power, than in any 
other portion of the world. He has done so in physical nature — in 
the majestic cataract, whose sound you can almost hear — in forest 
and in field — in the mind of man among you. In what has been 


accomplished to make your city what it is, the aged have done the 
most. The middle aged may say we will improve upon what has 
been done ; and the young, we shall accomplish still more than 
our fathers. That, fellow-citizens, was the boast in the ancient 
Spartan procession — a procession which was divided into three 
classes— the old, the middle-aged, and the young. They had a 
saying which each class repeated in turn. The aged said— 

' We have been, in days of old, 
Wise and gentle, brave and bold.' 

The middle-aged said — 

' We, in turn, your place supply; 
Who doubts it, let them come and try.' 

And the boys said — 

' Hereafter, at our coimtry's call, 
We promise to surpass you all.' 

And so it will be with you— each in your order." 

At Auburn every possible token of respect was paid 
to the venerable statesman. A committee consistino- 
of ex-Gov. Seward, Judge Conklin, Judge Miller, 
Luman Sherwood, P. H. Perry, S. A. Goodwin, James 
C. Wood, and J. L. Doty, Esqs., proceeded to Canan- 
daigua to meet Mr. Adams. At half past nine o'clock 
in the evening, Mr. Adams, accompanied by the com- 
mittee, arrived in Auburn. He was received by a 
torch-light procession, composed of the Auburn Guards, 
the Firemen, and an immense concourse of citizens, 
and conducted to the mansion of Gov. Seward, where 
he thus briefly addressed the people :— 

" Fellow-citizens :— Notwithstanding the glow with which these 
brilliant torch-lights illuminate my welcome among you, I can only 
acknowledge your kindness, on this occasion, by assuring you that 


to-morrow morning, by the light of the blessed sun, I hope to take 
every one of you by the hand, and expres* feelings too strong for 
immediate utterance." 

On the following morning at six o'clock, Mr. Adams 
visited the State Prison, and made many inquiries con- 
cerning the discipline of the prison, and its success in 
the prevention of crime and reformation of offenders. 
At 9 o'clock he met the citizens in the First Presby- 
terian church, where he was addressed by Gov. 
Seward, as follows : — 

" Sir : — I am charged with the very honorable and most agree- 
able duty, of expressing to you the reverence and affectionate 
esteem of my fellow-citizens, assembled in your presence. 

" A change has come over the spirit of your journey, since your 
steps have turned towards your ancestral sea-side home. An ex- 
cursion to invigorate health impaired by labors, too arduous for age, 
in the public councils, and expected to be quiet and contemplative, 
has become one of fatigue and excitement. Rumors of your ad- 
vance escape before you, and a happy and grateful community rise 
up in their clustering cities, towns, and villages, impede your way 
with demonstrations of respect and kindness, and convert your 
unpretending journey into a triumphal progress. Such honors 
frequently attend public functionaries, and such an one may some- 
times find it difficult to determine how much of the homage he re- 
ceives is paid to his own worth, how much proceeds from the 
habitual reverence of good republican citizens to constituted elective 
authority, and how much from the spirit of venal adulation. 

" You, sir, labor under no such embarrassment. The office you 
hold, though honorable, is purely legislative, and such as we can 
bestow by our immediate suffrage on one of ourselves. You con- 
ferred personal benefits sparingly when you held the patronage of 
the nation. That patronage you have relinquished, and can never 
regain. Your hands will be uplifted often, during your remaining 
days, to invoke blessings on your country, but never again to dis- 
tribute honors or reward among your countrymen. The homage 


paid you, dear sir, is sincere, for it has its sources in the just senti- 
ments and irrepressible affections of a free people, their love of 
truth, their admiration of wisdom, their reverence for virtue, and 
their gratitude for beneficence. 

" Nor need you fear that enthusiasm exaggerates your title to the 
public regard. Your fellow-citizens, in spite of political prudence, 
could not avoid honoring you on grounds altogether irrespective of 
personal merit. John Adams, who has gone to receive the reward 
of the just, was one of the most efficient and illustrious founders of 
this Empire, and afterwards its Chief Ruler. The son of such a 
father would, in any other age, and even in this age, in any other 
country than this, have been entitled, by birth alone, to a sceptre. 
We not merely deny hereditary claims to civil trust, but regard 
even hereditary distinction with jealousy. And this circumstance 
enhances justly the estimate of your worth. For when before has 
it happened that in such a condition of society the son has, by mere 
civic achievement, attained the eminence of such a sire, and effaced 
remembrance of birth by justly acquired renown ? 

" The hand we now so eagerly grasp, was pressed in confidence 
and friendship by the Father of our Country. The wreath we place 
on your honored brow, received its earhest leaves from the hand of 
Washington. We cannot expect, with the agency of free and uni- 
versal suffrage, to be always governed by the wise and the good. 
But surely your predecessors in the Chief Magistracy, were men 
such as never before successively wielded power in any State. 
They differed in policy as they must, and yet, throughout their sev- 
eral dynasties, without any sacrifice of personal independence, and 
while passing from immature youth to ripened age, you were coun- 
sellor and minister to them all. We seem therefore, in this inter- 
view with you, to come into the presence of our departed chiefs ; 
the majestic shade of Washington looks down upon us ; we hear the 
bold and manly eloquence of the elder Adams ; and we listen to the 
voices of the philosophic and sagacious Jefferson, the refined and 
modest Madison, and the generous and faithful Monroe. 

" A life of such eminent patriotism and fidelity found its proper 
reward in your elevation to the eminence from which you had justly 
derived so many honors. Although your administration of the gov- 
ernment is yet too recent for impartial history, or unbounded eulogy, 


our grateful remembrance of it is evinced by the congratulations 
you now receive from your fellow-citizens. 

" But your claims to the veneration of your countrymen do not 
end here. Your predecessors descended from the Chief Magistracy 
to enjoy, in repose and tranquillity, honors even greater than those 
which belonged to that eminent station. It was reserved for you 
to illustrate the important truths, that oflices and trusts are not the 
end of public service, but are merely incidents in tlie Hfeof the true 
American citizen ; that duties remain when the highest trust is re- 
signed ; and that there is scope for a pure and benevolent ambition 
beyond even the Presidency of the United States of America. 

" You have devoted the energies of a mind unperverted, the learn- 
ing and experience acquired through more than sixty years, and 
even the influence and fame derived from your high career of pub- 
lic service, to the great cause of universal liberty. The praises we 
bestow are already echoed back to us by voices which come rich 
and full across the Atlantic, hailing you as the indefatigable cham- 
pion of humanity — not the humanity which embraces a single race 
or cUme, but that humanity which regards the whole famil}^ of 
Man. Such salutations as these cannot be mistaken. They come 
not from your contemporaries, for they are gone — you are not of 
this generation, but of the past, spared to hear the voice of pos- 
terity. The greetings you receive come up from the dark and 
uncertain future. They are the whisperings of posthumous 
Fame — fame which impatiently awaits your departure, and which, 
spreading wider and growing more and more distinct, will award 
to John Quincy Adams a name to live with that of Washing- 
ton !" 

The audience expressed their sympathy with this 
address by long and enthusiastic cheering. When 
order was restored, Mr. Adams rose, evidently under 
great and unaffected embarrassment. 

He replied to the speech in an address of about half 
an hour, during which the attention of his audience 
was riveted upon the speaker, with intense interest 


and affection. He declared the embarrassment he felt 
m speaking. He was sensible that his fellow-citizens 
had laid aside all partizan feelings in coming up to 
greet him. He desired to speak what would not 
wound the feelings of any one. He was grateful, 
deeply grateful, to them all. But on what subject of 
public interest could a public man speak, that would 
find harmony among an intelligent, thinking people? 
There were such subjects, but he could not speak of 
them. . ' 

The people of Western New York had always been 
eminently just and generous to him, and had recently 
proved their kindness on various occasions, by inviting 
him to address the State Agricultural Society on 
agriculture. But his life had been spent in the closet, 
in diplomacy, or in the cabinet ; and he had not learned 
the practice, or even the theory of agriculture. After 
what he had seen of the harvests of Western New 
York, bursting with food for the sustenance of man, for 
him to address the people of such a district on agricul- 
ture, would be as absurd as the vanity of the rhetorician 
who went to Carthage to instruct Hannibal in the art of 
war. He had been solicited to address the young. In 
his life time he had been an instructor of youth, and, 
strange as from his present display they might think it, he 
had instructed them in the art of eloquence. And there 
was no more honorable office on earth than instructing 
the young. But the schools and seminaries had passed 
him, while he was engaged in other pursuits ; and for 


him now to attempt to instruct the young of this gen- 
eration, would evince only the garrulousness of age. 

He had been invited to discourse on internal im- 
provement ; but that was a subject he feared to touch. 
On one point, however, all men agreed. All were in 
favor of internal improvement. But there was a bal- 
ance between the reasonable sacrifices of this genera- 
tion, and the burden it had a right to cast upon pos- 
terity, and every individual might justly claim to hold 
his balance for himself. One thing, however, he was 
sure he might assume with safety. In looking over the 
State of New York, upon its canals and railroads, which 
brought the borders of the State into contiguity, and its 
citizens In every part into communion with each other, 
he was sure that all rejoiced, and might well glory in 
what had been accomplished. 

Mr. A. said he had read and endeavored to inform 
himself concerning prison discipline, a subject deeply 
interesting to the peace, good order, and welfare of 
society ; but after his examination of the penitentiary 
here, he was satisfied that he was yet a learner, instead 
of being able to give instruction on that important 

He had been asked to enlist in the growing army 
of temperance, and discourse on that cause, so deeply 
cherished by every well wisher of our country. And 
he would cheerfully speak ; but other and more devoted 
men had occupied the field, and what was left for him 
to say on temperance ? In passing through Catholic 


Lewer Canada he saw a column erected to the Virgin 
Mary, in gratitude for her promotion of the temperance 
cause. If indeed the blessed Virgin did lend her aid 
to that great work, it would almost win him to worship 
at her shrine, although he belonged to that class of 
people who rejected the invocation of saints. 

He felt, therefore, that he had no subject on which 
to address them, but himself and his own public life. 
The experience of an old man, related by himself, 
would, he feared, be more irksome than profitable. 

'* What, then, am I to say ? I am summoned here 
to speak, and to reply to what has been said to me by 
my respected friend, your late Chief Magistrate. And 
what is the theme he has given me ? It is myself. 
And what can I say on such a subject ? To know 
that he entertains, or that you entertain for me the 
sentiments he has expressed, absolutely overpowers 
me. I cannot go on. The only answer I can make, 
is a declaration, that during my public service, now 
protracted to nearly the age of eighty, I have endea- 
vored to serve my country honestly and faithfully. 
How imperfectly I have done this, none seem so sen- 
sible as myself. I must stop. I can only repeat 
thanks, thanks, thanks to you, one and all, and implore 
the blessings of God upon you and your children." 

At the conclusion of this reply, Mr. Adams was 
introduced to a large number of the ladies and gentle- 
men assembled in the church. He then returned to 
the American Hotel, where he remained an hour, 


receiving the visits of the citizens of the adjoining 
towns. At 11 o'clock the Auburn Guards escorted 
Mr. Adams and the committee, followed by a large 
procession, to the car-house. Accompanied by Gov. 
Seward, Judge Miller, Hon. Christopher Morgan, the 
committee. Auburn Guards, and a number of the citi- 
zens of Auburn, he was conveyed in an extra train of 
cars, in an hour and five minutes, to Syracuse. 

At Syracuse, at Utica, at Albany, the same spon- 
taneous outgushing manifestations of respect and affec- 
tion met him that had hitherto attended his journey 
in every populous place through which he passed. In 
his reply to the address of Mr. Barnard, at Albany, he 
concluded in the following words : — 

" Jjingering as I am on the stage of public life, and, as many of 
you may think, Hngering beyond the period when nature calls for 
repose — while I remain in the station which I now occupy in the 
Congress of the United States, if you, my hearers, as an assembly, 
or if any one among you, as an individual, have any object or pur- 
pose to promote, or any end to secure that he believes can in any 
way advance his interests or increase his happiness, then, in the 
name of God, I ask you to send your petitions to me ! (Tremendous 
cheering.) I hope this is not trespassing too far on politics. 
(Laughter, and cheers.) I unhesitatingly promise you, one and all, 
tliat if I can in any way serve you in that station, I will do it most 
cheerfully ; regarding it as the choicest blessing of God, if I shall 
thus be enabled to make some just return for the kind attentions 
which you have this day bestowed upon me." 

In his route homeward, Mr. Adams was received 
and entertained in a very handsome manner by the 
people of Pittsfield, Mass. He was addressed by Hon. 


George N. Briggs, who alluded, in eloquent terms, to 
his long and distinguished public services. Mr. 
Adams, in reply, spoke of the scenes amidst which he 
had passed his early youth, and of the influence which 
they exerted in forming his character and shaping his 
purposes. " In 1775," said he, " the minute men from 
a hundred towns in the province were marchincr at a 
moment's warning, to the scene of opening war. Many 
of them called at my father's house in Quincy, and 
received the hospitality of John Adams. All were 
lodged in the house vAVich the house would contain ; 
others in the barns, and wherever they could find a 
place. There were then in my father's kitchen some 
dozen or two of pewter spoons ; and I well recollect 
going into the kitchen and seeing some of the men 
engaged in running those spoons into f)ullets for the 
use of the troops ! Do you wonder," said he, " that a 
boy of seven years of age, who witnessed this scene, 
should be a patriot ?" 

In the fall of the same year, Mr. Adams received an 
invitation from the Cincinnati Astronomical Societv, to 
visit that city, and assist in the ceremony of laying the 
corner stone of an observatory, to be erected on an em- 
inence called Mount Ida. The invitation was accepted. 
On his journey to Cincinnati, the same demonstrations 
of respect, the same eagerness to honor the aged patri- 
arch were manifested in the various cities and towns 
through which he passed, as on his summer tour. 


The ceremony of laying the corner stone took plactj 
on the 9th of November, 1843. Mr. Adams delivered 
an address on the occasion, replete with eloquence, 
wisdom, philosophy, and religion. The following 
beautiful extract will afford a specimen : — ■ 

" The various difficult, and, in many respects, opposite motives 
which have impelled mankind to the study of the stars, have had a 
singular effect in complicating and confounding the recommendation 
of the science. Religion, idolatry, superstition, curiosity, the thirst 
for knowledge, the passion for penetrating the secrets of nature, 
the warfare of the huntsman by night and by day against the beast 
of the forest and of the field, the meditations of the shepherd in the 
custody and wanderings of his flocks, the influence of the revolving 
seasons of the year, and the successive garniture of the firmament 
upon the labors of the husbandman, upon the seed time and the 
harvest, the blooming of flowers, the ripening of the vintage, the 
polar pilot of the navigator, and the mysterious magnet of the mar- 
iner — all, in harmonious action, stimulate the child of earth and of 
heaven to interrogate the dazzling splendors of the sky, to reveal to 
him the laws of their own existence. 

" He has his own comforts, his own happiness, his own existence, 
identified with theirs. He sees the Creator in creation, and calls 
upon creation to declare the glory of the Creator. When Pytha- 
goras, the philosopher of the Grecian schools, conceived tiiat more 
than earthly idea of ' the music of the spheres' — when the great 
dramatist of nature could inspire the lips of his lover on the moon- 
light green with the beloved of his soul, to say to her : — 

' Sit, Jessica. — Look how the floor of Heaven 
Is thick inlaid with pattens of briglit gold ! 
There's not the smallest orb which thou beholdest, 
But in his motion like an angel singe. 
Still choiring to the young eyed cherubim !' 

" Oh, who is the one with a heart, but almost wishes to cast off 
this muddy vesture of decay, to be admitted to the joy of listening to 
the celestial harmony !" 


Mr. aDAMS' last appearance in public at boston HIS 







The last time Mr. Adams appeared in public in 
Boston, he presided at a meeting of the citizens of that 
city, in Faneuil Hall. " A man had been kidnapped 
in Boston — kidnapped at noon-day, • on the high road 
between Faneuil Hall and old Quincy,' and carried 
off to be a slave ! New England hands had seized 
their brother, sold him into bondage forever, and his 
children after him. A meeting was called to talk the 
matter over, in a plain way, and look in one another's 
faces. Who was fit to preside in such a case ? That 
old man sat in the chair in Faneuil Hall. Above him 
was the image of his father and his own ; around him 
were Hancock and the other Adams, and Washington, 
greatest of all. Before him were the men and women 
of Boston, met to consider the wrongs done to a miser- 
able negro slave. The roof of the old Cradle of Liberty 
N* 21 - 


spanned over them all. Forty years before, a young 
man and a Senator, he had taken the chair at a meet- 
ing called to consult on the wrong done to American 
seamen, violently impressed by the British from an 
American ship of war — the unlucky Chesapeake. Nov/ 
an old man, clothed with half a century of honors, he 
sits in the same Hall, to preside over a meeting to con- 
sider the outrage done to a single slave. One was the 
first meeting of citizens he ever presided over; the 
other was the last : both for the same object — the de- 
fence of the eternal ri2;ht !"* 

Few men retain the health and vigor with which 
Mr. Adams was blessed in extreme old age. When 
most others are decrepit and helpless, he was in the 
enjoyment of meridian strength and energy, both of 
body and mind, and could endure labors which would 
prostrate many in the prime of manhood. An instance 
of his powers of endurance is furnished in his journey 
to Washington, to attend the opening of Congress, 
when in the 74th year of his age. On Monday morning 
he left Boston, and the same evening delivered a lecture 
before the Young Men's Institute, in Hartford, Conn. 
The next day he proceeded to New Haven, and in the 
evening lectured before a similar Institute in that city. 
Wednesday he pursued his journey to New York, and 
in the evening lectured before the New York Lyceum, 
in the Broadway Tabernacle. Thursday evening he 

♦ Theodore Parker. 


delivered an address before an association in Brooklyn ; 
and on Friday evening delivered a second lecture be- 
fore the New York Lyceum. Here were labors which 
would seriously tax the constitution of vigorous youth ; 
and yet Mr. Adams performed them with much com- 
parative ease. 

His great longevity, and his general good health, 
must be attributed, in no small degree, to his abstemious 
and temperate habits, early rising, and active exercise. 
He took pleasure in athletic amusements, and was ex- 
ceedingly fond of walking. During his summer res- 
idence in Quincy, he has been known to walk to his 
son's residence in Boston (seven miles,) before break- 
fast. " While President of the United States, he was 
probably the first man up in Washington, lighted his 
own fire, and was hard at work in his library, while 
sleep yet held in its obliviousness the great mass of his 
fellow-citizens." He was an expert swimmer, and was 
in the constant habit of bathing, whenever circum- 
stances would permit. Not unfrequently the first 
beams of the rising sun, as they fell upon the beautiful 
Potomac, would find Mr. Adams buffeting its waves 
with all the sportiveness and dexterity of boyhood, 
while a single attendant watched upon the shore. 
When in the Presidency, he sometimes made a journey 
from Washington to Quincy on horseback, as a simple 
citizen, accompanied only by a servant. 

More than four score years had sprinkled their 


frosts upon his brow, and still he was in the midst of 
his usefulness. Promptly at his post in the Hall of 
Representatives stood the veteran sentinel, watching 
vigilantly over the interests of his country. With an 
eye undimmed by age, a quick ear, a ready hand, an 
intellect unimpaired, he guarded the citadel of liberty, 
ever on the alert to detect, and mighty to repel, the 
approach of the foe, however covert or however open 
his attacks. Never did the Union, never did freedom, 
the world, more need his services than now. A large 
territory, of sufficient extent to form several States, 
had been blighted by sla/ery, and annexed to the 
United Sates. A sanguinary and expensive war, grow- 
ing out of this strengthening of the slave power, had 
just terminated, adding to the Union still larger terri- 
tories — now free soil indeed, but furnishing a field for 
renewed battles between slavery and liberty. New 
revolutions were about to break forth in Europe, to 
convulse the Eastern Hemisphere, and cause old 
thrones to totter and fall ! 

How momentous the era ! How deeply fraught 
with the prosperity of the American Republic — with 
the progress of man — the freedom of nations — the 
happiness of succeeding generations ! How could he, 
who for years had prominently and nobly stood forth, 
as the leader of the hosts contending for the rights and 
the liberties of humanity, be spared from his post at such 
a juncture? Who could put on his armor? — who 
wield his weapons ? — who *' lead a forlorn hope," or 


mount a deadly breach in battles which might yet 
be waged between the sons of freedom and the propa- 
gators of slavery ? But the loss was to be experienced. 
A wise and good Providence had so ordered. The 
sands of his life had run out. A voice from on high 
called him away from earth's stormy struggles, to 
bright and peaceful scenes in the spirit land. He 
could no longer tarry. Death found the faithful vet- 
eran at his post, with his harness on. How applicable 
the words of Scott, on the departure of Pitt : — 

" Hadst thou but lived, though stripp'd of power, 
A watchman on the lonely tower, 
Thy thrilling trump had roused the land, 
When fraud or danger were at hand ; 
By thee, as by the beacon-light, 
Our pilots had kept course aright ; 
As some proud column, though alone, 
Thy strength had propp'd the tottering throne. 
Now is the stately column broke, 
The beacon-light is quenched in smoke. 
The trumpet's silver sound is still, 
The warder silent on the hill ! 
O think how, to his latest day, 
When death, just hovering, claimed his prey, 
With Palinure's unaltered mood, 
Firm at his dangerous post he stood ; 
Each call for needful rest repell'd, 
With dying hand the rudder held, 
Till, in his fall, with fateful sway, 
The steerage of the realm gave way." 

It has been supposed by some that the remote cause 
of Mr. Adams's death was a severe injury he received 
by a fall in the House of Renresentatives, in June, 


1840. The accident is thus described by an eye 

witness : — 

" It had been a very warm day, and the debates had partaken of 
extraordinary excitement, when, a few moments before sunset, the 
House adjourned, and most of the members had sought rehef from 
an oppressive atmosphere, in the arbors and recesses of the adjoin- 
ing Congressional gardens. 

" At that time I held a subordinate clerkship in the House, which 
usually confined me, the Jarger portion of the day not devoted to 
debate, to one of the committee rooms ; whilst the balance of the 
day I occupied as a reporter. 

" Mr. Adams was always the first man in the House, and the 
last man out of it; and, as I usually detained myself an hour or 
more after adjournment, in writing up my notes, I often came in 
contact with him. He was pleased to call at my desk very often, 
before he went home, and indulge in some incidental, unimportant 
conversation. On tiie day referred to, just as the sun was setting, 
and was throwing his last rays through the murky hall, I looked 
up, and saw Mr. Adams approaching. He had almost reached my 
desk, and had uplifted his hand in friendly salutation, when he 
pitched headlong, some six or eight feet, and struck his head against 
the sharp corner of an iron rail that defended one of the entrance 
aisles leading to the circle within the bar, inflicting a heavy contu- 
sion on his forehead, and rendering him insensible. I instantly 
leaped from my seat, took the prostrate sufferer in my arms, and 
found that he was in a state of utter stupor and insensibilky. 
Looking around for aid, I had the good fortune to find that Col. 
James Munroe, of the New York delegation, had just returned to 
his desk to procure a paper he had forgotten, when, giving the 
alarm, he flew to the rescue, manifesting the deepest solicitude for 
the welfare of the venerable statesman. FoUansbee, the door- 
keeper, with two or more of his pages, came in next ; and after we 
had applied a plentiful supply of cold water to the sufferer, he re- 
turned to consciousness, and requested that he might be taken to 
his residence. In less than five minutes, Mr. Moses H. GrinnelJ, 
Mr. George H. Profit, Mr. Ogden HoflTman, and Col. Christopher 
Williams, of Tennessee, were called in, a carriage was procured, 
and Mr. Adams was being conveyed to his residence in President 


Square, when, it being ascertained that his shoulder was dislocated, 
the carriage was stopped at the door of the private hotel of Col. 
Munroe, in Pennsylvania Avenue, between Eleventh and Twelfth 
streets ; the suffering, but not complaining statesman, was taken 
out, and surgical aid instantly put in requisition. Doctor Sewall 
was sent for ; when it was ascertained that the left shoulder-joint 
was out of the socket ; and, though Mr. Adams must have suffered 
intensely, he complained not — did not utter a groan or a murmur. 

" More than an hour elapsed before the dislocated limb could be 
adjusted ; and to effect which, his arm endured, in a concentrated 
and continued wrench or pull, many minutes at a time, the united 
strength of Messrs. Grinnell, Munroe, Profit, and Hoffman. Still 
Mr. Adams uttered not a murmur, though the great drops of sweat 
that rolled down his furrowed cheeks, or stood upon his brow, told 
but too well the physical agony he endured. As soon as his arm 
was adjusted, he insisted on being carried home, and his wishes 
were complied with. 

" The next morning I was at the capitol at a very early hour, 
attending to some writing. I thought of, and lamented the acci- 
dent that had befallen Mr. Adams, and had already commenced 
writing an account of it to a correspondent. At that instant I with- 
drew my eyes from the paper on which I was writing, and saw Mr. 
Adams standing a foot or two from me, carefully examining the 
carpeting. ' Sir,' said he, ' I am looking for that place in the 
matting that last night tripped me. If it be not fastened down, it 
may kill some one.' And then he continued his search for the 
trick-string matting." * 

Mr. Adams after this accident did not enjoy as 
sound health as in previous years, yet was more active 
and vigorous than the majority of those who attain to 
his age. But on the 20th of November, 1846, he ex- 
perienced the first blow of the fatal disease which 
eventually terminated his existence. 

On the morning of that day, while sojourning at the 
residence of his son, in Boston, preparing to depart for 


Washington, he was walking out with a friend to visit 
a new Medical College, and was struck with paralysis 
by the way. This affliction confined him several 
weeks, when he obtained sufficient strength to proceed 
to Washington, and enter upon his duties in the House 
of Representatives. He viewed this attack as the 
touch of death. An interregnum of nearly four months 
occurs in his journal. The next entry is under the 
head of " Posthumous Memoir." After describing his 
recent sickness, he continues : — " From that hour I 
date my decease, and consider myself, for every useful 
purpose, to myself and fellow-creatures, dead ; and 
hence I call this, and what I may hereafter write, a 
posthumous memoir" 

Although he was after this, regular in his attendance 
at the House of Representatives, yet he did not mingle 
as freely in debate as formerly. He passed the follow- 
ing summer, as usual, at his seat in Quincy. In No- 
vember, he left his native town for Washington, to 
return no more in life ! 

On Sunday, the 20th of February, 1818, he appeared 
in unusual health. In the forenoon he attended public 
worship at the capitol, and in the afternoon at St. 
John's church. At nine o'clock in the evening he 
retired with his wife to his library, where she read to 
him a sermon of Bishop Wilberforce, on Time — " ho- 
vering, as he was, on the verge of eternity !" This 
was the last night he passed beneath his own roof. 

Monday, the 21st, he rose at his usual very early 


hour, and engaged in his accustomed occupations with 
his pen. An extraordinary alacrity pervaded his move- 
ments, and the cheerful step with which he ascended 
the steps of the capitol was remarked by his attendants. 
He occupied a portion of the forenoon in composing a 
few stanzas of poetry, at the request of a friend, and 
had signed his name twice for members who desired 
to obtain his autograph. 

Mr. Chase had introduced a resolution of thanks to 
Generals Twiggs, Worth, Quitman, Pillow, Shields, 
Pearce, Cadwalader, and Smith, for their services in 
the Mexican war, and awarding them gold medals. Mr. 
Adams was in his seat, and voted on the two questions 
preliminary to ordering its engrossment, with an uncom- 
monly emphatic tone of voice. About half past one 
o'clock, P. M., as the Speaker had risen to put another 
question to the House, the proceedings were suddenly 
interrupted by cries of *' Stop ! — stop ! — Mr. Adams V 
There was a quick movement towards the chair of 
Mr. Adams, by two or three members, and in a mo- 
ment he was surrounded by a large number of Repre- 
sentatives, eagerly inquiring — " What's the matter ?" — 
"Has he fainted?" — "Is he dead?" John Quincy 
Adams, while faithful at his post, and apparently about 
to rise to address the Speaker, had sunk into a state of 
unconsciousness 1 He had been struck a second time 
with paralysis. The scene was one of intense excite- 
ment. Pallor, anxiety, alarm, were depicted on every 
countenance. *' Take him out,"—'* Bring water, "-^ 


exclaimed several voices. He had been prevented 
from fallinjT to the floor bv a member from Ohio, 
whose seat was near his — Mr. Fisher — who received 
him in his arms. Immediately Mr. Grinnell, one of 
his colleagues from Massachusetts, was by his side, 
keeping off a press of anxious friends, and bathing his 
face with iced water. 

" He was immediately lifted into the area in front 
of the Clerk's table. The Speaker instantly suggested 
that some gentleman move an adjournment, which 
being promptly done, the House adjourned. A sofa 
was brought, and Mr. Adams, in a state of perfect 
helplessness, tiiough not of entire insensibility, was 
gently laid upon it. The sofa was then taken up and 
borne out of the Hall into the Rotunda, where it was 
set down, and the members of both Houses, and 
strangers, who were fast crowding around, were with 
some difficulty repressed, and an open space cleared in 
its immediate vicinity ; but a medical gentleman, a 
nnember of the House, (who was prompt, active, and 
self-possessed throughout the whole painful scene,) 
advised that he be removed to the door of the Rotunda 
opening on the east portico, where a fresh wind was 
blowing. This was done ; but the air being chilly 
and loaded with vapor, the sofa was, at the suggestion 
of Mr. Winthrop, once more taken up and removed to 
the Speaker's apartment, the doors of which were 
forthwith closed to all but professional gentlemen and 
particular friends." 


The features of the dying patriarch were almost as 
rigid as though in death ; but there was a serenity in 
his countenance which betokened an absence of pain. 
There were five physicians, members of the House, 
present, viz. : — Drs. Newell, Fries, Edwards, Jones of 
Georgia, and Lord. These gentlemen were unremit- 
ting in their attentions. Drs. Lindsley and Thomas, 
of the city, were also immediately called in. Under 
the advice of the medical gentlemen present, he was 
cupped, and mustard plasters were applied, which 
seemed to afford some relief Reviving a little and 
recovering consciousness, Mr. Adams inquired for his 
wife. She was present, but in extreme illness, and 
suffering the most poignant sorrow. After a few mo- 
ments' interval he relapsed again into unconsciousness. 
A correspondent of the New York Express describes 
as follows the progress of these melancholy events : — 

" Half past one o'clock. — Mr. Benton communicated 
to the Senate the notice of the sudden illness of Mr. 
Adams, and moved an adjournment of that body. 

^^ Quarter to two. — Mr. Adams has several physi- 
cians with him, but exhibits no signs of returning con- 
sciousness. The report is that he is sinking. 

" Two o'clock. — Mr. Giddings informs me that he 
shows signs of life. He has just now attempted to 
speak, but cannot articulate a word. Under medical 
advice he has submitted to leeching. 

'' Half past two. — Mrs. Adams and his niece and 
nephew are with him, and Mr. A. is no worse. The 


reports, however, are quite contradictory, and many 
despair of his recovery. 

*' Three o'clock. — None but the physicians and the 
family are present, and the reports again become more 
and more doubtful. The physicians say that Mr. Adams 
may not live more than an hour, or he may live two 
or three days. 

**His right side is wholly paralyzed, and the left not 
under control, there being continually involuntary mo- 
tions of the muscles. Everything which medical aid 
can do, has been done for his relief. Briefly, just now, 
by close attention, he seemed anxious to * thank the 
officers of the House.' Then, again, he was heard to 
say — ' This is the last of earth ! I am content !' 
These were the last words which fell from the lips of 
* the old man eloquent,' as his spirit plumed its pinions 
to soar to other worlds." 

Mr. Adams lay in the Speaker's room, in a state of 
apparent unconsciousness, through the 22d and 23d, 
— Congress, in the meantime, assembling in respectful 
silence, and immediately adjourning from day to day. 
The struggles of contending parties ceased — the strife 
for interest, place, power, was hushed to repose. Si- 
lence reigned through the halls of the capitol, save the 
cautious tread and whispered inquiry of anxious ques- 
tioners. The soul of a sage, a patriot, a Christian, is 
preparing to depart from the world ! — no sound is 
heard to ruffle its sweet serenity ! — a calmness and 
peace, fitting the momentous occasion, prevail around I 


The elements of life and death continued their un- 
CP.rtain balance, until seven o'clock, on the evening 
of the 23d, when the spirit of John Quincy Adams 
bade adieu to earth forever, and winged its flight to God. 

" Give forth, thy chime, thou solemn bell, 
Thou grave, unfold thy marble cell ; 
O earth ! receive upon thy breast, 
The weary traveller to his rest. 

•* O God ! extend thy arms of love, 
A spirit seeketh thee above I 
Ye heav'nly palaces unclose, 
Receive the weary to repose." 

The tidings of Mr, Adams' death flew on electrical 
wings to every portion of the Union. A statesman, a 
philanthropist, a father of the Republic, had fallen. A 
nation heard, and were dissolved in tears ! 

In the history of American statesmen, none lived a 
life so long in the public service — none had trusts so 
numerous confided to their care — none died a death 
so glorious. Beneath the dome of the nation's capitol ; 
in the midst of the field of his highest usefulness, where 
he had won fadeless laurels of renown ; equipped with 
the armor in which he had fought so many battles for 
truth and freedom, he fell beneath the shaft of the king 
of terrors. And how bright, how enviable the reputa- 
tion he left behind ! As a man, pure, upright, benevo- 
lent, religious — his hand unstained by a drop of human 
blood ; uncharged, unsuspected of crime, of premedi- 
tated wrong, of an immoral act, of an unchaste word 


— as a statesman, lofty and patriotic in all his pur- 
poses ; devoted to the interests of the people ; sacredly 
exercising all power entrusted to his keeping for the 
good of the public alone, unmindful of personal inter- 
est and aggrandizement ; an enthusiastic lover of 
liberty ; a faithful, fearless defender of the rights of 
man ! The sun of his life in its lengthened course 
through the political heavens, was unobscured by a 
spot, undimmed by a cloud ; and when, at the close of 
the long day, it sank beneath the horizon, the whole 
firmament glowed with the brilliancy of its reflected 
glories ! Rulers, statesmen, legislators ! study and 
emulate such a life — seek after a character so beloved, 
a death so honorable, a fame so immortal. Like 
him — 

" So live, that when thy summons comes to join 
The innumerable caravan, that moves 
To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take 
His chamber in the silent halls of death. 
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night. 
Scourged to his dungeon ; but, sustained, and soothed 
By an unfaltering trust, approach ihy grave, 
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch 
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams." 

On the day succeeding Mr. Adams' death, when 
the two Houses of Congress met, the full attendance 
of members, and a crowded auditory, attested the 
deep desire felt by all to witness the- proceedings 
which would take place in relation to the death of one 
who had long occupied so high a place in the councils 


of the Republic. As soon as the House of Representa- 
tives was called to order, the Speaker, (the Hon. 
Robert C. Winthrop of Massachusetts,) rose, and in a 
feeling manner addressed the House as follows : — 

'' " Gentlemen of the House of Representatives of the -United States : 
It has been thought fit that the Chair should announce officially to 
the House, an event already known to the members individually, 
and which has filled all our hearts with sadness. A seat on this 
floor has been vacated, toward which all eyes have been accustomed 
to turn with no common interest. A voice has been hushed forever 
in this Hall, to which all ears have been wont to listen with pro- 
found reverence. A venerable form has faded from our sight, 
around which we have daily clustered with an affectionate regard. 
A name has been stricken from the roll of the living statesmen 
of our land, which has been associated, for more than half a cen- 
tury, with the highest civil service, and the loftiest civil renown. 

" On Monday, the 21st instant, John Quincy Adams sunk in his 
seat, in presence of us all, by a sudden illness, from which he never 
recovered ; and he died, in the Speaker's room, at a quarter past 
seven o'clock last evening, with the officers of the House and the 
delegation of his own Massachusetts around him. 

" Whatever advanced age, long experience, great abihty, vast 
learning, accumulated public honors, a spotless private character, 
and a firm religious faith, could do, to render any one an object of 
interest, respect, and admiration, they had done for this distinguished 
person ; and interest, respect, and admiration, are but feeble terms 
to express the feelings with which the members of this House and 
the people of the country have long regarded him. 

" After a life of eighty years, devoted from its earliest maturity to 
the public service, he has at length gone to his rest. He has been 
privileged to die at Iiis post ; to fall while in the discharge of his 
duties ; to expire beneath the roof of the capitol ; and to have his 
last scene associated forever, in history, with the birthday of that 
illustrious patriot, whose just discernment brought him first into the 
service of his country. 

" The close of such a life, under such circumstances, is not an 
event for unmingled emotions. We cannot find it in our hearts to 


regret, that he has died as he has died. He himself could have de- 
sired no other end. ' This is the end of earth,' were his last 
words, uttered on the day on which he fell. But we might also 
hear him exclaiming, as he left us — in a language hardly less 
familiar to him than his native tongue — ' Hoc est, nimirum, magis 
feliciter de vita migrare. quam mori.'' 

*' It is for others to suggest what honors shall be paid to his 
memory. No acts of ours are necessary to his fame. But it may 
be due to ourselves and to the country, that tne national sense of j 
his character and services should be fitly commemorated." 

Mr. Holmes of South Carolina arose and addressed 
the House in most eloquent strains. The following 
are extracts from his eulogy : — 

" The mingled tones of sorrow, like the voice of many waters, 
have come unto us from a sister State — Massachusetts weeping for 
her honored son. The State I have the honor in part to represent 
once endured, with yours, a common suffering, battled for a com- 
mon cause, and rejoiced in a common triumph. Surely, then, it 
is meet that in this, the day of your affliction, we should mingle our 

" When a great man falls, the nation mourns ; when a patriarch 
is removed, the people weep. Ours, my associates, is no common 
bereavement. The chain which linked our hearts with the gifted 
spirits of former times, has been rudely snapped. The lips from 
which flowed those living and glorious truths that our fathers 
uttered, are closed in death ! Yes, my friends. Death has been 
among us ! He has not entered the humble cottage of some un- 
known, ignoble peasant ; he has knocked audibly at the palace 
of a nation ! His footstep has been heard in the Hall of State ! 
He has cloven down his victim in the midst of the councils of a 
people ! He has borne in triumph from among you the gravest, 
wisest, most reverend head ! Ah ! he has taken him as a trophy 
who was once chief over many States, adorned with virtue, and 
learning, and truth ; he has borne at his chariot-wheels a renowned 
one of the earth. 

" There was no incident in the birth, the life, the death of Mr. 
Adams, not intimately woven with the history of the land. Bom in 


the night of his country's tribulation, he heard the first murmurs of 
discontent ; he saw the first efforts for deliverance. Whilst yet a 
little child, he listened with eagerness to the whispers of freedom as 
they breathed from the lips of her almost inspired apostles : he caught 
the fire that was then kindled ; his eye beamed with the first ray ; 
he watcjied the day spring from on high, and long before he departed 
from earth, it was graciously vouchsafed unto him to behold the 
eff"ulgence of her noontide glory. ******* 

" He disrobed himself with dignity of the vestures of office, not to 
retire to the shades of Quinc}^ but, in the maturity of his intellect, 
in the vigor of his thought, to leap into this arena, and to continue, 
as he had begun, a disciple, an ardent devotee at the temple of his 
country's freedom. How, in this department, he ministered to his 
country's wants, we all know, and have witnessed. How often we 
have crowded into that aisle, and clustered around that now vacant 
desk, to listen to the counsels of wisdom, as they fell from the lips 
of the venerable sage, we can all remember, for it was but of yes- 
terday. But Mrhat a change ! How wondrous ! how sudden ! 
'Tis like a vision of the night. That form which we beheld but a 
few days since, is now cold in death ! 

-. "But the last Sabbath, and in this hall, he worshipped with others. 
Ifew his spirit mingles with the noble army of martyrs, and the just 
made perfect, in the eternal adoration of the living God. With him 
" this is the end of earth." He sleeps the sleep that knows no 
waking. He is gone — and forever ! The sun that ushers in the 
morn of that next holy day, while it gilds the lofty dome of the cap- 
itol, shall rest with soft and mellow light upon the consecrated spot 
beneath whose turf forever lies the Patriot Father and the Pa- 
triot Sage !" 

The following resolutions were unanimously passed 
by the House of Representatives : — 

" Resolved, That this House has heard with the deepest sensibil- 
ity, of the death in this capitol of John Quincy Adams, a Member 
of the House from the State of Massachusetts. 

"Resolved, That, as a testimony of respect for the memory of 
this distinguished statesman, the officers and members of the House 
O 22 


will wear the usual badge of mourning, and attend the funeral in 
his hall on Saturday next, at 12 o'clock. 

" Resolved, That a committee of thirty be appointed to superintend 
the funeral solemnities. 

" Resolved, That the proceedings of this House in relation to the 
deatli of John Quincy Adams be communicated to the family of the 
deceased by the Clerk. 

" Resolved, That the seat in this hall just vacated by the death of 
the late John Quincy Adams be unoccupied for thirty days, and 
that it, together with the hall, remain clothed with the symbol of 
mourning during that time. 

" Resolved, That the Speaker appoint one member of this House 
from each State and Territory, as a committee to escort the remains 
of our venerable friend, the Honorable John Quincy Adams, to the 
place designated by his friends for his interment. 

" Resolved, That this House, as a further mark of respect for the 
memory of the deceased, do adjourn to Saturday next, the day ap- 
pointed for the funeral." 

In the Senate, after a formal annunciation of the 
death of Mr. Adams, in a message from, the House of 
Representatives, Mr. Davis, of Massachusetts, arose 
and delivered a feeling address, on the life and ser- 
vices of the deceased patriot. The following are 
extract? :— 

" Mr. President : By the recent affliction of my colleague, (Mr. 
Webster,) a painful duty devolves upon me. The message just 
delivered from the House proves that the hand of God has been 
again among us. A great and good man has gone from our midst. 
If, in speaking of John Quincy Adams, I can give utterance to the 
language of my own heart, I am confident I shall meet with a re- 
sponse from the Senate. 

" He was born in the then Province of Massachusetts, while she 
was girding herself for the great revolutionary struggle which was 
then before her. His parentage is too well known to need even an 
allusion ; yet I may be pardoned if I say, that his father seemed 
bom to aid in the establishment of our free Government, and his 


mother was a suitable companion and co-laborer of such a patriot. 
The cradle hymns of the child were the songs of liberty. The 
power and competence of man for self-government were the topics 
which he most frequently heard discussed by the wise men of the 
day, and the inspiration thus caught gave form and pressure to his 
after life. Thus early imbued with the love of free institutions, ed- 
ucated by his father for the service of his country, and early led by 
Washington to its altar, he has stood before the world as one of 
its eminent statesmen. He has occupied, in turn, almost every 
place of honor which the country could give him, and for more than 
half a century, has been thus identified with its history. ***** 

" It is believed to have been the earnest wish of his heart to die, 
like Chatham, in the midst of his labors. It was a sublime thought, 
that where he had toiled in the house of the nation, in hours of the 
day devoted to its service, the stroke of death should reach him, and 
there sever the ties of love and patriotism which bound him to earth. 
He fell in his seat, attacked by paralysis, of which he had before 
been a subject. To describe the scene which ensued would be im- 
possible. It was more than the spontaneous gush of feeling which 
all such events call forth, so much to the honor of our nature. It 
was the expression of reverence for his moral worth, of admiration 
for his great intellectual endowments, and of veneration for his age 
and public services. All gathered round the sufferer, and the strong 
sympathy and deep feeling which were manifested, showed that the 
bu-siness of the House (which was instantly adjourned) was for- 
gotten amid the distressing anxieties of the moment. He was soon 
removed to the apartment of the Speaker, where he remained sur- 
rounded by afflicted friends till the weary clay resigned its immortal 
spirit. ' This is the end of earth !' Brief but emphatic words 
They were among the last uttered by the dying Christian." 

When Mr. Davis had concluded his remarks, Mr. 
Benton, of Missouri, delivered a most beautiful eulogy 
on the character of Mr. Adams. He said : — 

" Mr. President : The voice of his native State has been heard, 
through one of the Senators of Massachusetts, announcing the death 
of her aged and moat distinguished son. The voice of the other 


Senator, (Mr. Webster,) is not heard, nor is his presence seen. 
A domestic calamity, known to us all, and felt by us all, confines 
him to the chamber of private grief, while the Senate is occupied 
with the public manifestations of a respect and sorrow which a na- 
tional loss inspires. In the absence of that Senator, and as the 
member of this body longest here, it is not unfitting or unbecoming 
in me to second the motion which has been made for extending the 
last honors of the Senate to him who, forty-five years ago, was a 
member of this body, who, at the time of his death, was among the 
oldest members of the House of Representatives, and who, putting 
the years of his service together, was the oldest of all the members 
of the American Government. 

" The eulogium of Mr. Adams is made in the facts of his life, 
which the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Davis) has so strik- 
ingly stated, that, from early manhood to octogenarian age, he has 
been constantly and most honorably employed in the public service. 
For a period of more than fifty years, from the time of his first ap- 
pointment as Minister abroad under Washington, to his last election 
to the House of Representatives by the people of his native district, 
he has been constantly retained in the public service, and that, not 
by the favor of a Sovereign, or by hereditary title, but by the elec- 
tions and appointments of republican Government. This fact makes 
the eulogy of the illustrious deceased. For what, except a union 
of all the qualities which command the esteem and confidence of 
man, could have ensured a public service so long, by appointments 
free and popular, and from sources so various and exalted ? Minis- 
ter many times abroad ; member of this body ; member of the House 
of Representatives ; cabinet Minister ; President of the United 
States ; such has been the galaxy of his splendid appointments. 
And what but moral excellence the most perfect — intellectual abil- 
ity the most eminent — fidelity the most unwavering — ser/ice the 
most useful, could have commanded such a succession of appoint- 
ments so exalted, and from sources so various and so eminent ? 
Nothing less could have commanded such a series of appointments ; 
and accordingly we see the union of all these great qualities in him 
who has received them. 

" In this long career of public service Mr. Adams was distin- 
guished not only by faithful attention to all the great duties of his 
stations, but to all their less and minor duties. He was not the 


Salaminian galley, to be launched only on extraordinary occasions, 
but he was the ready vessel, always launched when the duties of 
his station required it, be the occasion great or small. As Pres- 
ident, as cabinet Minister, as Minister abroad, he examined all ques- 
tions that came before him, and examined all in all their parts, in 
all the minutiae of their detail, as well as in all the vastness of their 
comprehension. As Senator, and as a member of the House of 
Representatives, the obscure committee-room was as much the 
witness of his laborious application to the drudgery of legislation, 
as the halls of the two Houses were to the ever ready speech, re- 
plete with knowledge, which instructed all hearers, enlightened all 
subjects, and gave dignity and ornament to debate. 

" In the observance of all the proprieties of life, Mr. Adams was 
a most noble and impressive example. He cultivated the minor as 
well as the greater virtues. Wherever his presence could give aid 
and countenance to what was useful and honorable to man, there 
he was. In the exercises of the school and of the college — in the 
meritorious meetings of the agricultural, mechanical, and com- 
mercial societies — in attendance upon Divine worship — he gave the 
punctual attendance rarely seen but in those who are free from the 
weight of public cares. 

" Punctual to every duty, death found him at the post of duty ; 
and where else could it have found him, at any stage of his career, 
for the fifty years of his illustrious public life ? From the time of 
his first appointment by Washington to liis last election by the 
people of his native town, where could death have found him but 
at the post of duty ? At that post, in the fullness of age, in the 
ripeness of renown, crowned with honors, surrounded by his family, 
his friends, and admirers, and in the very presence of the national 
representation, he has been gathered to his fathers, leaving behind 
him the memory of public services which are the history of hia 
country for half a century, and the example of a life, public and 
private, which should be the study and the model of the generations 
of his co-untrymen." 

At the conclusion of Mr. Benton's address, the fol 
lowing resolutions, introduced by Mr. Davis, were 
passed by the Senate : — 


« Resolved, That the Senate has received with deep sensibility 
the message from the House of Representatives announcing the 
death of the Hon. John Quinct Adams, a Representative from the 
State of Massachusetts. 

" Resolved, That, in token of respect for the memory of the de- 
ceased, the Senate will attend his funeral at the hour appointed by 
the House of Representatives, and will wear the usual badge of 
mourning for thirty days. 

" Resolved, That, as a further mark of respect for the memory 
of the deceased, the Senate do now adjourn until Saturday next, the 
time appointed for the funeral." 

President Polk issued a Proclamation announcing 
to the nation its bereavement, and directing the sus- 
pension of all public business for the day. The public 
offices were clothed in mourning. Orders were issued 
from the War and Navy Departments, directing that 
at every military and naval station, on the day after 
the order should be received, the honors customary to 
the illustrious dead should be paid. 

At 12 o'clock on Saturday, the 26th of February, 
the funeral took place in the capitol. It was a solemn, 
an imposing scene. The Hall of Representatives was 
hung in sable habiliments. The portraits of Washing- 
ton and La Fayette, the beautiful statue of the Muse 
of History in the car of Time, and the vacant chair 
of the deceased, were wreathed in crape. In the 
midst, and the most conspicuous of all, was the coffin 
containing the remains of the illustrious dead, covered 
with its velvet pall. The President of the United 
States, and the Heads of Departments, the Members 
of both Houses of Congress, the Judges of the Supreme 


Court, the Foreign Ministers, Officers of the Army and 
Navy, Members of State Legislatures, and an immense 
concourse of the great, the wise, and the good, were 
present, to bestow honor on all that remained of the 
statesman, the philosopher, and the Christian. 

A discourse was delivered on the occasion, by the 
Rev. R. R. Gurley, chaplain to the House of Represent- 
atives, from Job xi. 17, 18 — "And thine age shall be 
clearer than the noon-day ; thou shalt shine forth, thou 
shalt be as the morning: and thou shalt be secure, 
because there is hope." The following are extracts 
from the sermon : — 

" In some circumstances, on some occasions, we most naturally 
express our emotions in silence and in tears. What voice of man 
can add to the impressiveness and solemnity of this scene ? The 
presence and aspect of this vast assembly, the Chief Magistrate, 
Counsellors, Judges, Senators, and Representatives of the nation, 
distinguished officers of the army and the navy, and the honored Am- 
bassadors from foreign pov/ers, — these symbols and badges of a uni- 
versal mourning, darkening this hall into sympathy with our sorrow, 
leave no place for the question, ' Know ye not that a prince and a 
great man is fallen in Israel ?' Near to us, indeed, has come the in- 
visible hand of the Almighty — that hand in which is the soul of every 
living thing, and the breath of all mankind ; in this very hall, from 
yonder seat, which he so long occupied, in the midst of the repre- 
sentatives of the people, has it taken one full of years and honors, 
eminent, for more than half a century, in various departments of the 
public service ; who adorned every station, even the highest, by his 
abilities and virtues ; and whose influence, powerful in its benefi- 
cence, is felt in many, if not in all the States of the civilized 
world. ***** 

" Not more certainly is the body invigorated and preserved by 
suitable food, by manly exercises, by the vital air, than are the in- 
tellectual and moral faculties by the investigation and recepticai of 


divine truths, by habits of obedience to the divine will, by. cheerful 
submission to the order and discipline of Divine Providence. Nor 
let us ever distrust the Father of our spirits, who knows perfectly 
all the wants of our nature, but rest assured that his command- 
ments in the sacred Scriptures are entirely in harmony with the de- 
crees of his providence ; and that as to fear Him and keep His 
commandments is the whole duty (because the highest duty, and 
comprehending all others), so will it prove the whole and eternal 
happiness of man. If the indissoluble and harmonious connection 
between the laws of nature, of Providence and the moral law, be 
not always obvious, it is always certain. Over all the darkness, 
disturbances, and evils of the world shines revealed, more or less 
clearly, like the serene and cheerful heavens, this immutable law, 
binding virtue, however obscure, persecuted, or forsaken, to re- 
ward ; duty, however humble or arduous, to happiness. Hence the 
declaration, that all things shall work together for good to them who 
love God, and that all things are theirs — the past and future, things 
temporal and spiritual, prosperity s^d adversity, angels, and princi- 
palities, and powers, and God himself, in all the resources of his 
wisdom and all the eternity of his reign. 

" How shone out, clear as the noonday, yet mild and gentle as 
the morning, even in age, in the life and character of that great and 
venerable man, around whose precious, but, alas ! inanimate form 
we all press in gratitude, admiration, and love, those high virtues 
derived from faith in God, and nurtured by his revealed truth, this 
bereaved Congress, and, I may add, this nation witnesses. ****** 

" Truly emblematic of his moral integrity and strength of char- 
acter would be the granite column from his native hills, one and 
entire, just in its proportions, towering in its height, immoveable in 
its foundations, and pointing to Heaven as the temple and throne of 
everlasting authority, the final refuge, the imperishable home of all 
regenerated and faithful souls. 

" Independence of mere human authority in the use of his reason, 
on all subjects, was united with veneration most sincere and pro- 
found for the sacred Scriptures, as a supernatural revelation from 
God, ' whose prerogative extends not less to the reason than the 
will of man,' and from a daily perusal of the Divine Word, and a 
constant and devout attendance upon the public worship of the 
Sabbath, although differing on some points from common opinions, 


he cherished enlarged views of Christian communion, and recog- 
nized in most, if not all the religious denominations of this coun- 
try, members of one and the same family and kingdom of Jesus 
Christ. *****■•*=* 

" Alas, the sad and appalling ruins of death ! ' This is the end 
of earth.' Approach ! lovers of pleasure, seekers after wisdom, 
aspirants, by pre-eminence in station, and power, and influence 
among men, to fame ; see the end of human distinctions and earthly 
greatness ! Surely man walketh in a vain show ; surely man in 
his best estate is altogether vanity. How pertinent to this scene 
the words of Job : ' He leadeth princes away spoiled, and over- 
throweth the mighty. He removeth away the speech of the trusty, 
and taketh away the understanding of the aged. He discovereth 
deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow 
of death !' How, indeed, is the mighty fallen, and the head of 
the wise laid low ! All flesh is grass — all the glory of man as the 
flower of the field. And shall this vast congregation soon be brought 
to the grave — that house appoin^^^'d for all the living ? Hear, then, 
the great announcement of the Son of God : ' I am the resurrec- 
tion and the life, and whosoever believeth in me, though he were 
dead yet shall he hve, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me 
shall never die.' Is it strange that he who communed so much 
with the future as the great statesman to whose virtues and mem- 
ory we now pay this sad, final, solemn tribute of honor and affec- 
tion, should, in the last conversation I ever had with him, have ex- 
pressed both regret and astonishment at the indifference among too 
many of our public men to the truths and ordinances of our holy 
religion ? Is it to affect our hearts that he has been permitted to 
fall in the midst of us, to arouse us from this insensibility, and 
cause us to press towards the gates of the eternal city of God ? Let 
us bless God for another great example to shine upon us, that an- 
other star (we humbly trust) is planted amid the heavenly constella- 
tions to guide us to eternity !" 

At the conclusion of the exercises in the capitol, a 
vast procession, escorted by military companies, con- 
veyed the remains to the Congressional burying 


ground, where they were to rest until preparations for 
their removal to Quincy should be completed. 

" Sad was the pomp that yesterday beheld, 
* As with the mourner's heart the anthem swelled ; 
The rich-plumed canopy, the gorgeous pall, 
The sacred march, and sable vested wall ! — 
These were not rites of inexpressive show. 
But hallowed as the types of real woe ! 
Illustrious deceased ! a nation's sighs, 
A nation's heart, went with thine obsequies!" 

The following letter of thanks from Mrs. Adams, 
addressed to the Speaker, was laid before the House of 
Representatives : — 

" WasMngton, February 29, 1848, 

" Sir : The resolutions in honor of my dear deceased husband, 
passed by the illustrious assembly over which you preside, and of 
which he at the moment of his death was a member, have been duly 
communicated to me. 

" Penetrated with grief at this distressing event of my life, 
mourning the loss of one who has been at once my example and 
my support through the trials of half a century, permit me never- 
theless to express through you my deepest gratitude for the signal 
manner in which the public regard has been voluntarily mani- 
fested by your honorable body, and the consolation derived to me 
and mine from the reflection that the unwearied efforts of an old 
public servant have not even in this world proved without their re- 
ward in the generous appreciation of them by his country. 
" With great respect, I remain, sir, your obedient servant, 

" Louisa Catharine Adams." 

On the following week, the Committee of one from 
each State and Territory in the Union, appointed by 
the House of Representatives to take char^'^ ^^ che 


remains of the deceased ex-President, and convey 
them to Quincy for final interment, commenced their 
journey. It was a new, yet inexpressibly thrilling and 
imposing spectacle. The dead body of *'the Old Man 
Eloquent," surrounded and guarded by a son of each 
of the States and Territories of that Union which he 
had so largely assisted in consolidating and sustaining, 
leaves the capitol of the nation, where for more than 
thirty years he had acted the most conspicuous part 
among the fathers of the land, to rest in the tomb of 
its ancestors, amid the venerable shades of Quincy. 
How solemn the progress of such a procession. It 
was indeed, " the Funeral March of the Dead !" 
Wherever it passed, the people rose up and paid the 
utmost marks of respect to the remains of one who 
had occupied so large a space in the history of his 
country. In towns, in villages, in cities, as the mourn- 
ful cortege swept through, business was suspended, 
flags were displayed at half mast, bells were tolled, 
minute guns were fired, civil and military processions 
received the sacred remains, and watched over them 
by night and by day, and passed them on from State 
to State. 

" What a progress was it which the dead patriot 
thus made ! From the capitol of the nation, beneath 
whose dome, and while at his post of duty, he was 
seized by death — within sight almost of that Mount 
Vernon where repose the ashes of him, the Father of 
his Country, who first distinguished, encouraged and 


employed the extraordinary capacity of the youthful 
Adams — through cities that in his life time have grown 
up from villages — passing, at Baltimore, almost beneath 
the shadow of the monument which there testifies of 
the valor of those who fell for country in the war of 
1812 — and in Philadelphia halting and reposing within 
the hall where his great father, John Adams, had fear- 
lessly stood for Independence, and where Independence 
was proclaimed — the dead passed on, everywhere fol- 
lowed by the reverential gaze and the mourning heart, 
till, reaching the great metropolis of New York, where 
the same father had been sworn in and taken his seat, 
as the first Vice President of the United States, with 
George Washington for President ! Thence away the 
march was resumed, till it reached old Faneuil Hall — 
the cradle of American liberty, the fitting final resting- 
place, while yet unburied, of the body of one in whose 
heart, at no moment of life, did the love of liberty, im- 
bibed or strengthened in that hall, suffer the slightest 

Faneuil Hall was clothed in the dark drapery of 
mourning, fitting to receive the body of one of the 
greatest of the many noble sons of the venerable Bay 
State. Amid solemn dirges and appropriate cere- 
monies, the chairman of the Congressional Committee 
surrendered to a Committee from the Legislature of 
Massachusetts, the sacred remains they had accom- 
panied from the capitol of the United States. — 

* King's Eulogy. 


*' Throughout the journey," said the chairman, *'there 
have been displayed manifestations of the highest ad- 
miration and respect for the memory of your late dis- 
tinguished fellow-citizen. In the large cities through 
which we expected to pass, we anticipated such de- 
monstrations ; but in every village and hamlet, at the 
humblest cottage which we passed, and from the 
laborers in the field, the same profound respect was 
testified by their uncovered heads." 

The Committee of the Massachusetts Legislature 
having thus received the body from its Congressional 
escort, in turn surrendered it to the keeping of the 
municipal authorities of Boston, for burial at Qumcy. 
This ceremony was performed by Mr. Buckingham, 
chairman of the Legislative Committee, in these im- 
pressive words : — 

" In the name and behalf of the Government and People of the 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, whose honored but humble ser- 
vant I this day am, I consign to your faithful keeping, Mr. Mayor, 
the remains of John Quincy Adams— all that was mortal of that 
venerable man, whose age and whose virtues had rendered him an 
object of intense interest and admiration to his country and to the 
world. We place these sacred remains in your possession, to be 
conveyed to their appointed home — to sleep in the sepulchre and 
with the dust of his fathers." 

Mr. Quincy, the Mayor, in accepting the guardian- 
ship conferred upon him in behalf of the city of Boston, 
replied in the following terms : — 

*' There is something sublime in the scene that surrounds us. 
An honored son of Massachusetts— one who was educated by a 


signer of the Declaration of Independence— one who heard the 
thunder of the great struggle for liberty on yonder hill, has, after a 
life of unparalleled usefulness and fidelity, fallen in the capitol of 
the country he served. His remains were escorted here by dele- 
gates from every State in the Union. They have passed over spots 
ever memorable in history. They have everywhere been received 
with funeral honors. They have reposed in the hall of independ- 
ence. They now lie in the cradle of liberty. As a citizen of Mas- 
sachusetts, I cannot but acknowledge our sense of the honor paid 
to her distinguished son. Mourned by a nation at its capitol, at- 
tended by the representatives of millions to the grave, he has re- 
ceived a tribute to his memory unequalled among men. 

" These remains now rest in the cradle of liberty. It is their 
last resting-place on their journey home. As a statesman's, ' this 
is to them the last of earth !' To-morrow they will be deposited in 
the peaceful church-yard of tlie village of his birth, there to be 
mourned, not as statesmen mourn for statesmen, but as friends 
mourn for friends. 

" He will be ' gathered to his fathers !' And how great, in this 
case, is the significance of the expression ! It is possible that other 
men may be attended as he will be to the grave. But when again 
shall the tomb of a President of the United States open its doors to 
receive a son who has filled the same office ?" 

On the following day, the body, under the charge of 
the municipal officers of Boston, was conveyed to 
Quincy. In the Unitarian church, in the presence of 
old neighbors and friends, the last funeral exercises 
were held, and the last sad burial service was per- 

By the side of the graves of his fathers, over- 
shadowed by aged trees, which had sheltered his head 
in the days of boyhood, in a plain tomb, prepared 
under his own direction, and inscribed simply with his 
name, sleep the ashes of JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. 


" Let no weak drops 
Be shed for him. The virgin in her bloom 
Cut off, the joyous youth, and darling child, 
These are the tombs that claim the tender tear 
And elegiac songs. But Adams calls 
For other notes of gratulation high ; 
That now he wanders thro' those endless worlds 
He here so well descried ; and, wondering, talks 
And hymns their Author with his glad compeers. 
Columbia's boast ! whether with ansfels thou 
Sittest in dread discourse, or fellow blest 
Who joy to see the honor of their kind ; 
Or whether, mounted on cherubic wing, 
Thy swift career is with the whirling orbs, 
Comparing things with things, in rapture lost, 
And grateful adoration for that light 
So plenteous ray'd into thy mind below 
From liight himself — oh ! look with pity down 
On human kind, a frail, erroneous race ! 
Exalt the spirit of a downward world ! 
O'er thy dejected country chief preside, 
And be her Genius called ! her studies raise, 
Correct her manners, and inspire her youth ; 
For, though deprav'd and sunk, she brought thee fortli, 
And glories in thy name. She points thee out 
To all her sons, and bids them eye thy star — 
Thy star, which, followed steadfastly, shall lead 
To wisdom, virtue, glory here, and joy 
Unspeakable in worlds to come." 


We are in the midst of extraordinary events. British- 
American Civilization and Spanish-American Society 
have come into collision, each in its fullest maturity. 
The armies of the North have penetrated the chappa- 
rels at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palm a — passed the 
fortresses of Monterey, and rolled back upon the heart 
of Mexico the unavailing tide of strong resistance from 
the mountain-side of Buena Vista. Martial colonists 
are encamped on the coasts of California, while San 
Juan d'Ulloa has fallen, and the invaders have swept 
the gorge of Cerro Gordo — carried Perote and Puebla, 
and planted the banner of burning stars and ever- 
multiplying stripes on the towers of the city of the 

The thirtieth Congress assembles in this conjunc- 
ture, and the debates are solemn, earnest, and bewil- 
dering. Interest, passion, conscience, freedom, and 
humanity, all have their advocates. Shall new loans 
and levies be granted to prosecute still farther a war 
so glorious ? or shall it be abandoned ? Shall we be 

* Delivered before the Legislature of New York, by Wm. H. Seward, 


358 EULOGY. 

content with the humiliation of the foe ? or shall we 
complete his subjugation ? Would that severity be 
magnanimous, or even just ? Nay, is the war itself 
just? Who provoked, and by what unpardonable 
ofFence, this disastrous strife between two eminent 
Republics, so scandalous to Democratic Institutions ? 
Where shall we trace anew the ever-advancing line of 
our empire? Shall it be drawn, on the shore of the 
Rio Grande, or on the summit of the Sierra Madre ? 
or shall Mexican Independence be extinguished, and 
our eagle close his adventurous pinions only when he 
looks off upon the waves that separate us from the 
Indies ? Does Freedom own and accept our profuse 
oblations of blood, or does she reject the sacrifice ? 
Will these conquests extend her domain, or will they 
be usurped by ever-grasping slavery ? What effect 
will this new-born ambition have upon ourselves ? 
Will it leave us the virtue to continue the career of 
social progress ? How shall we govern the conquered 
people ? Shall we incorporate their mingled races 
with ourselves, or rule them with the despotism of pro- 
consular power ? Can we preserve these remote and 
hostile possessions in any way, without forfeiting our 
own blood-bought heritage of freedom ? 

Steam and lightning, which have become docile 
messengers, make the American people listeners to this 
high debate, and anxiety, and ijiiterest, intense and 
universal, absorb them all. Suddenly the council is 
dissolved. Silence is in the capitol, and sorrow has 

EULOGY. 359 

thrown its pall over the land. What new event is 
this ? Has some Cromwell closed the legislative cham- 
bers ? or has some Caesar, returning from his distant 
conquests, passed the Rubicon, seized the purple, and 
fallen in the Senate beneath the swords of self-appointed 
executioners of his country's vengeance ? No ! noth- 
ing of all this. What means, then, this abrupt and 
fearful silence ? What unlooked for calamity has 
quelled the debates of the Senate and calmed the 
excitement of the people ? An old man, whose tongue 
once indeed was eloquent, but now through age had 
well nigh lost its cunning, has fallen into the swoon of 
death. He was not an actor in the drama of con- 
quest — nor had his feeble voice yet mingled in the 
lofty argument — 

" A grey-haired sire, whose eye intent 
Was on the visioned future bent." 

And now he has dreamed out at last the troubled 
dream of life. Sighs of unavailing grief ascend to 
Heaven. Panegyric, fluent in long-stifled praise, per- 
forms its office. The army and the navy pay conven- 
tional honors, with the pomp of national woe, and then 
the hearse moves onward. It rests appropriately, on 
its way, in the hall where independence was proclaimed, 
and again under the dome where freedom was born 
At length the tomb of John Adams opens to receive a 
SON, who also, born a subject of a king, had stood as a 
representative of his emancipated country, before prin- 

360 KULOGY. 

cipallties and powers, and had won by merit, and 
worn without, reproach, the honors of the Republic. 

From that scene, so impressive in itself, and impres- 
sive because it never before happened, and can never 
happen again, we have come up to this place sur- 
rounded with the decent drapery of public mourning, 
on a day set apart by authority, to recite the history 
of the citizen, who, in the ripeness of age, and fulness 
of honors, has thus descended to his rest. It is fit to 
do so, because it is by such exercises that nations re- 
generate their early virtues and renew their constitu- 
tions. All nations must perpetually renovate their 
virtues and their constitutions, or perish. Never was 
there more need to renovate ours than now, when we 
seem to be passing from the safe old policy of peace 
and moderation into a career of conquest and martial 
renown. Never was the duty of preserving our free 
institutions in all their purity, more obvious than it is 
now, when they have become beacons to mankind in 
what seems to be a general dissolution of their ancient 
social systems. 

The history of John Quincy Adams is one that 
opens no new truth in the philosophy of virtue ; for 
there is no undiscovered truth in that philosophy. But 
it is a history that sheds marvellous confirmation on 
maxims which all mankind know, and yet are prone 
to undervalue and forget. The exalted character 
before us was formed by the combination of virtue, 
courage, assiduity, and modesty, under favorable con- 

EULOGY. 861 

ditions, with native talent and genius, and illustrates 
the truth, that in morals as in nature, simplicity is 
the chief element of the sublime. 

John Quincy Adams was fortunate in his lineage ; 
in the period, and in the place of his nativity; in all 
the circumstances of education ; in the age and coun- 
try in which he lived ; in the incidents, as well as the 
occasions of his public service ; and in the period and 
manner of his death. He was a descendant from one 
of the Puritan planters of Massachusetts, and a son of 
the most intrepid actor in the Revolution of Independ- 
ence. Quincy, the place of his birth, is a plain, 
bounded on the west by towering granite hills, and 
swept without defence by every wind from the ocean. 
Its soil in ancient times was as sterile as its climate is 
always rigorous. 

Born on the eleventh day of July, 1767, in the hour 
of the agitation of rebellion, and reared within sight 
and sound of gathering war, the earliest political ideas 
he received were such as John Adams then uttered — 
** We must fight." " Sink or swim — live or die — sur- 
vive or perish with my country, is my unalterable de- 
termination." A mother fervently pious, and eminent 
in intellectual gifts, directed with more than maternal^ 
assiduity and solicitude the education of him who was 
to render her own name immortal. Never quite di- 
vorced from home, yet twice, and for long periods in 
his youth, a visitor in Europe, he enjoyed always the 
parental discipline of one of the founders of the Amer- 

362 EULOGY. 

ican State, and often the daily conversation of Franklin 
and Jefferson ; and combined travel in France, Spain, 
England, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia, 
and even diplomatic experience, with the instructions 
of the schools of Paris, of the University at Leyden, 
and of Harvard University at Cambridge ; and all 
these influences fell upon him at a period when his 
country, then opening the way to human liberty 
through trials of fire, fixed the attention of mankind. 

The establishment of the Republic of the United 
States of America, is the most important secular event 
in the history of the human race. It did not disen- 
tangle the confused theory of the origin of Govern- 
ment, but cut through the bonds of power existing by 
prescription, at a blow ; and thus directly and imme- 
diately affected the opinions and the actions of n>en in 
every part of the civilized world. It animated them 
everywhere to seek freedom from despotic power and 
aristocratic restraint. Whenever and wherever they 
have since moved, either by peaceful agitation or by 
physical force, to meliorate systems of government, 
whether in France at the close of the last century, or 
afterward on the second subversion of the elder branch 
of the Bourbons, or in the recent overthrow of the 
constitutional king, or in Ireland, or in England, or in 
Italy, or in Greece, or in South America, whether they 
succeeded or failed, there, in the tumult or in the strife, 
was the spirit of the American Revolution. *' It gave 
an example of a great people, not merely emancipating 

EULOGY. 363 

themselves, but governing themselves, without either a 
monarch to control, or an aristocracy to restrain them ; 
and it demonstrated, for the first time in the history of 
the world, contrary to the predictions and theories of 
speculative philosophy, that a great nation, when duly 
prepared, is capable of self-government by purely re- 
publican institutions." 

But the estabHshment of the American Republic was 
too great an achievement to be made all at once. It 
was a drama of five grand acts, each of which filled a 
considerable period, and called upon the stage actors 
of peculiar powers and distinguished virtues. Those 
acts were, colonization, preparation, revolution, organ- 
ization, consolidation. 

Two of these acts were closed before John Quincy 
Adams was born. The third, the revolution, the 
shortest of them all, dazzles the contemplation by the 
rapidity and the martial character of its incidents. 
The fourth, the organization of the Government, by 
the splendors of genius elicited, and the felicity of the 
new form of government presented, satisfies the super- 
ficial inquirer that, when the Constitution had been 
adopted, nothing remained to perfect the great achieve- 
ment. But other nations have had successful revolu- 
tions, and have set up free constitutions, and have yet 
sunk again under reinvigorated despotism. The con- 
solidation of the American Republic — the crowning 
act — occupied forty years, reaching from 1789 to 1829. 
During that period, John Quincy Adams participated 

364 EULOGY. 

continually in public affairs, and ultimately became the 
principal actor. 

The new Government was purely an experiment. In 
opposition to the fixed habits of mankind, it established 
suffrage practically universal, and representation so 
perfect that not one Legislative House only, but both 
Houses ; not legislative officers only, but all officers, 
executive, ministerial, and even judicial, were di- 
rectly or indirectly elected by the people. The longest 
term of the senatorial trust was but six years, and the 
shortest only two, and even the tenure of the execu- 
tive power was only four years. This Government, 
betraying so much popular jealousy, was invested with 
only special and limited sovereignty. The conduct 
of merely municipal affairs was distributed within the 
States, among Governments even more popular than 
the federal structure, and without whose ever-renewed 
support that structure must fall. 

The Government thus constituted, so new, so com- 
plex and artificial, was to be consolidated, in the midst 
of difficulties at home, and of dangers abroad. The 
constitution had been adopted only upon convictions 
of absolute necessity, and with evanescent dispositions 
of compromise. By nearly half of the people it was 
thought too feeble to sustain itself, and secure the 
rights for which governments are instituted among 
men. By as many it was thought liable to be converted 
into an over-shadowing despotism, more formidable 
and more odious than the monarchy which had been 

EULOGY. 365 

subverted. These conflicting opinions revealed them- 
selves in like discordance upon every important ques- 
tion of administration, and were made the basis of 
parties, which soon became jealous and irreconcilable, 
and ultimately inveterate, and even in some degree 

c These domestic feuds were aggravated by pernicious 
influences from Europe. In the progress of western 
civilization, the nations of the earth had become social. 
The new Republic could not, like the Celestial Empire 
or that of Japan, confine itself within its own bound- 
aries, and exist without national intercourse. It had 
entered the family of nations. But the position it was 
to assume, and the advantages it was to be allowed to 
enjoy, were yet to be ascertained and fixed. Its inde- 
pendence, confessed to be only a doubtful experiment 
at home, was naturally thought ephemeral in Europe. 
Its example was ominous, and the European Powers 
willingly believed that, if discountenanced and baffled, 
America would soon relapse into colonial subjugation. 
Such prejudices were founded in the fixed habits of 
society. Not only the thirteen colonies, but the whole 
American hemisphere, had been governed by European 
States from the period of its discovery. The very 
soil belonged to the trans-atlantic monarchs by dis- 
covery, or by ecclesiastical gift. Dominion over it 
attached by divine right to their persons, and drew 
after it obligations of inalienable allegiance upon those 

who became the inhabitants of the new world. The 

366 EULOGV. 

new world was indeed divided between diffev>*int 
powers, but the system of government was the same. 
It was administered for the benefit of the parental 
State alone. Each power prohibited all foreign trade 
with its Colonies, and all intercourse between them and 
other plantations, supplied its Colonies with what they 
needed from abroad, interdicted their manufactures, 
and monopolized their trade. The prevalence of this 
system over the whole continent of America and the 
adjacent islands prevented all enterprize in the colonies, 
discouraged all improvement, and retarded their prog- 
ress to independence. 

The American Revolution sundered these bonds only 
so far as they confined thirteen of the British Colonies, 
and left the remaining British dominions, and the con- 
tinent, from Georgia around Cape Horn to the Northern 
Ocean, under the same thraldom as before. Even the 
United States had attained only physical independence. 
The moral influences of the colonial system oppressed 
them still. Their trade, their laws, their science, their 
literature, their social connections, their ecclesiastical 
relations, their manners and their habits, were still 
colonial ; and their thoughts continually clung around 
the ancient and majestic States of the Eastern Con- 

The American Revolution, so happily concluded here, 
broke out in France simultaneously with the beginning 
of Washington's administration. The French nation 
passed in fifteen years from absolute despotism under 

EULOGY. 367 

Louis XVI., through all the phases of democracy to a 
military despotism under Napoleon Bonaparte ; and 
retained, through all these changes, only two character- 
istics — unceasing ferocity of faction, and increasing 
violence of aggression against foreign States. The 
scandal of the French Revolution fell back upon the 
United States of America, who were regarded as the 
first disturbers of the ancient social system. The prin- 
cipal European monarchs combined, under the guidance 
of England, to arrest the presumptuous career of France 
and extirpate democracy by the sword. Nevertheless, 
the republican cause, however odious in Europe, was 
our national cause. The sympathies of a large portion 
of the American people could not be withdrawn from 
the French nation, which always claimed, even when 
marshalled into legions under the Corsican conqueror, 
to be fighting the battles of freedom ; while, on the 
other side, the citizens who regarded innovation as 
worse than tyranny, considered England and her allies 
as engaged in sustaining the cause of order, of govern- 
ment, and of society itself. 

The line already drawn between the American 
people in regard to their organic law, naturally became 
the dividing line of the popular sympathies in the great 
European conflict. Thus deeply furrowed, that line 
became " a great gulf fixed." The Federal party un- 
consciously became an English party, although it in- 
dignantly disowned the epithet ; and the Republican 
party became a French party, although with equal 

368 EULOGY. 

sincerity it denied the gross impeachment. Each bel- 
ligerent was thus encouraged to hope for aid from 
the United States, through the ever-expected triumph 
of its friends ; while both conceived contemptuous 
opinions of a people who, from too eager interest in a 
foreign fray, suffered their own national rights to 
be trampled upon with impunity by the contending 

Washington set the new machine of government in 
motion. He formed his cabinet of recognized leaders 
of the adverse parties. Hamilton and Knox of the 
Federal party were balanced by Jefierson and Ran- 
dolph of the adverse party. " Washington took part 
with neither, but held the balance between them with 
the scrupulous justice which marked his lofty nature." 
On the 25th of April, 1793, he announced the neutrality 
of the United States between the belligerents, and his 
decision, without winning the respect of either, exas- 
perated both. Each invaded our national rights more 
flagrantly than before, and excused the injustice by 
the plea of necessary retaliation against its adversary, 
and each found willing apologists in a sympathizing 
faction in our own country. 

Commercial and political relations were to be estab- 
lished between the United States and the European 
Powers in this season of conflict. Ministers were 
needed who could maintain and vindicate abroad the 
same impartiality practised by Washington at home. 
There was one citizen eminently qualified for such a 

EULOGY. 309 

trust ill such a conjuncture. Need I say that citizen 
was the younger Adams, and that Washington had the 
sagacity to discover him ? 

John Quincy Adams successively completed mis- 
sions at the Hague and at Berlin, in the period inter- 
vening between 1794 and 1801, with such advantage 
and success, that in 1802 he was honored by his native 
commonwealth with a seat as her representative in the 
Senate of the United States. The insults offered to 
our country by the belligerents increased in aggrava- 
tion as the contest between them became more violent 
and convulsive. France, in 1804, laid aside even the 
name and forms of a Republic, and the first consul, 
dropping the emblems of popular power, placed the 
long-coveted diadem upon his brow, where its jewels 
sparkled among the laurels he had won in the conquest 
of Italy. Washington's administration had passed 
away, leaving the American people in sullen discon- 
tent. John Adams had succeeded, and had atoned 
by the loss of power for the offence he had given by 
causing a just but unavailing war to be declared 
against France. Jefferson was at the head of the 
Government ; he thought the belligerents might be re- 
duced to forbearance by depriving them of our com- 
mercial contributions of supplies, and recommended, 
first an embargo, and then non-intercourse. Britain 
was an insular and France a continental power. The 
effects of these measures would therefore be more 
severe on the former than on the latter, and, unhappily, 

370 EULOGY. 

they were more severe on our own country than on 
either of the offenders. 

Massachusetts was the chief commercial State in 
the Union. She saw the ruin of her commerce in- 
volved in the poHcy of Jefferson, and regarded it as 
an unworthy concession to the usurper of the French 
throne. In this emergency John Quincy Adams turned 
his back on Massachusetts, and threw into the uprising 
scale of the administration, the weight of his talents 
and of his already eminent fame. Massachusetts in- 
structed the recusant to recant. He refused to obey, 
and resigned his place. His change of political rela- 
tions astounded the country, and, with the customary 
charity of partisan zeal, was attributed to venality. It 
is now seen by us in the light reflected upon it by the 
habitual independence, unquestioned purity, and lofty 
patriotism of his whole life ; and thus seen, constitutes 
only the first marked one of many instances wherein 
he broke the green withes which party fastened upon 
him, and maintained the cause of his country, referring 
the care of his fame to God and to an impartial pos- 
terity. Like Decimus Brutus, whom Julius Caesar 
saluted among his executioners with the exclamation 
*' Et tu^ Brute r John Quincy Adams was not unfaith- 
ful, but he could not be obliged where he was not left 

Jefferson retired in 1809, leaving to his successor, 
the scholastic and peace-loving Madison, the perilous 
legacy of perplexed foreign relations, and em'^ittered 

EULOGY. 371 

domestic feuds. Great Britain now filled the measure 
of exasperation by insolently searching our vessels on 
the high seas, and impressing into her marine all whom 
she chose to suspect of having been born in her • alle- 
giance, even though they had renounced it and had 
assumed the relations of American citizens. War was 
therefore imminent and inevitable. Russia was then 
coming forward to a position of commanding influence 
in Europe, and her youthful Emperor Alexander had 
won, by his chivalrous bearing, the respect of mankind. 
John Quincy Adams was wisely sent by the United 
States, to establish relations of amity with the great 
power of the North ; and while he was thus engaged, 
the flames of European war, which had been so long, 
averted, involved his own country. War was declared 
against Great Britain. 

It was just. It was necessary. Yet it was a war 
that dared Great Britain to re-assert her ancient sov- 
ereignty. It was a war with a power whose wealth 
and credit were practically inexhaustible, a power 
whose navy rode unchecked over all the seas, and 
whose impregnable garrisons encircled the globe. 

Against such a power the war was waged by a 
nation that had not yet accumulated wealth, nor estab- 
lished credit, nor even opened avenues suitable for 
transporting munitions of war through its extended 
territories — that had only the germ of a navy, an in- 
considerable army, and not one substantial fortress. 
Yet such a war, under such circumstances, was de- 

372 EULOGY. 

nounced as unnecessary and unjust, though for no 
better reason than because greater contumelies haa 
been endured at the hands of France. Thus a do- 
mestic feud, based on the very question of the war 
itself, enervated the national strength, and encouraged 
the mighty adversary. 

The desperate valor displayed at Chippewa and 
Lundy's Lane, at Fort Erie and Plattsburgh, and the 
brilliant victories won in contests between single ships 
of war on the ocean and armed fleets on the lakes, 
vindicated the military prowess of the United States, 
but brought us no decisive advantage. A suspension 
of the conflict in Europe followed Napoleon's disas- 
trous invasion of Russia, and left America alone op- 
posed to her great adversary. Peace was necessary, 
because the national credit was exhausted — because 
the fortunes of the war were inclining against us — and 
because the opposition to it was ripening into disorgan- 
izing councils. Adams had prepared the way by 
securing the mediation of Alexander. Then, in that 
critical period, associated with Russell, Bayard, the 
learned and versatile Gallatin, and the eloquent and 
chivalric Clay, he negotiated with firmness, with assi- 
duity, with patience, and with consummate ability, a 
definitive treaty of peace — a treaty of peace which, 
although it omitted the causes of the war already ob- 
solete, saved and established and confirmed in its whole 
integrity the independence of the Republic — a treaty 

EULOGY. 373 

of peace that yet endures, and, we willingl-y hope, may 
endure forever. 

After fulfilling a subsequent mission at the Court of 
St. James, the pacificator entered the domestic service 
of the country as Secretary of State in the administra- 
tion of James Monroe ; and at the expiration of that 
administration became President of the United States. 
He attained the honors of the Republic at the age of 
fifty-seven, in the forty-ninth year of independence. 
He was sixth in the succession, and with him closed 
the line of Chief Magistrates who had rendered to their 
country some tribute of their talents in civil or military 
service in the war of independence. 

John Quincy Adams, on entering civil life, had found 
the Republic unstable. He retired in 1829, leaving it 
firmly established. It was thus his happy fortune to 
preside at the completion of that work of consolidation 
the beginning of which was the end of the labors of 

John Quincy Adams engaged in this great work 
while yet in private life, in 1793. He showed to his 
fellow-citizens, in a series of essays, the inability of the 
French people to maintain free institutions at that time, 
and the consequent necessity of American neutrality 
in the European war. These publications aided 
Washington so much the more because they antici- 
pated his own decision. Adams sustained the same 
great cause when he strengthened the administration 
of Jefferson against the preponderating influence of 

374 EULOGY. 

Great Britain. His diplomatic services in Holland and 
Russia secured, at a critical period, a favorable con- 
sideration in the Courts of those countries, which con- 
duced to the same end ; and his brilliant success in 
restoring peace to the country so sorely pressed, re- 
lieved her from her enemies, reassured her, and gave to 
sceptical Europe conclusive proof that her republican 
institutions were destined to endure. 

The administration of John Quincy Adams blends 
so intimately with that of Monroe, in which he was 
chief Minister, that no dividing line can be drawn 
between them. Adams may be said, without deroga- 
tion from the fame of Monroe, to have swayed the 
Government during his presidency ; and with equal 
truth, Monroe may be admitted to have continued his 
administration through that of his successor. 

The consolidation of the Republic required that fac- 
tion, should be extino-uished. Monroe began this diffi- 
cult task cautiously, and pursued it with good effect. 
John Quincy Adams completed the achievement. The 
dignity and moderation which marked his acceptance 
of the highest trust which a free people could confer, 
beautifully foreshadowed the magnanimity with which 
it was to be discharged. He confessed himself deeply 
sensible of the circumstances under which it had been 
conferred : — 

All my predecessors (he said) have been honored with majorities 
of the electoral voices, in the primary colleges. It has been my 
fortune to be placed, by the divisions of sentiment prevailing among 

EULOGY. -375 

our countrymen, on this occasion, in competition, friendly and hon- 
orable, with three of my fellow-citizens, all justly enjoying, in emi- 
nent degrees, the public favor ; and of whose worth, talents and 
services, no one entertains a higher and more respectful sense than 
myself. The names of two of them were, in the fulfilment of the 
provisions of the constitution, presented to the selection of the 
House of Representatives, in concurrence with my own, names 
closely associated with the glory of the nation, and one of them 
farther recommended by a larger majority of the primary electoral 
suffrages than mine. In this state of things, could my refusal to 
accept the trust thus delegated to me give an opportunity to the 
people to form and to express, with a nearer approach to unanim- 
ity, the object of their preference, I should not hesitate to decline 
the acceptance of this eminent charge, and to submit the decision 
of this momentous question again to their determination. 

it argued a noble consciousness of virtue to express, 
on such an occasion, so ingenuously, the emotions of a 
generous ambition. * 

He displayed the same great quality no less when he 
called to the post of chief Minister, in spite of clamors 
of corruption, Henry Clay, that one of his late rivals 
who alone among his countrymen had the talents and 
generosity which the responsibilities of the period 

John Quincy Adams signalized his accession to the 
post of dangerous elevation by avowing the sentiments 
concerning parties by which he was inflexibly governed 
throughout his administration : — 

Of the two great political parties [he said] which have divided 
the opinions and feelings of our country, the candid and the just 
will now admit, that both have contributed splendid talents, spotless 
integrity, ardent patriotism, and disinterested sacrifices, to the for- 
mation and administration of the Government, and that both havo 

376 EULOGY. 

required a liberal indulgence for a portion of human infirmity and 
error. The revolutionary wars of Europe, commencing- precisely 
at the moment when the Government of the United States first went 
into operation under the constitution, excited colHsions of senti- 
ments, and of sympatliies, which kindled all the passions and em- 
bittered the conflict of parties, till the nation was involved in war, 
and the Union was shaken to its centre. This time of trial em- 
braced a period of five-and-twenty years, during which the policy 
of the Union in its relations with Europe constituted the principal 
basis of our own political divisions, and the most arduous part of 
action of the Federal Government. With the catastrophe in which 
the wars of the French Revolution terminated, and our own subse- 
quent peace with Great Britain, this baneful weed of party strife 
was uprooted. From that time no diflference of principle, connected 
with the tlieory of government, or with our intercourse with for- 
eign nations, has existed or been called forth in force sufficient to 
sustain a continued combination of parties, or eiven more than 
wholesome animation to public sentiment or legislative debate. 
Our political creed, without a dissenting voice that can be heard, is 
that the will of the people is the source, and the happiness of the 
people is the end, of all legitimate government upon earth — that the 
best security for the beneficence, and the best guaranty against the 
abuse of power, consists in the freedom, the purity, and the fre- 
quency of popular elections. That the General Government of the 
Union, and the separate Governments of the States, are all sovereign- 
ties of legitimate powers ; fellow serv'ants of the same masters, 
uncontrolled within their respective spheres — uncontrollable by en- 
croachments on each other. If there have been those who doubted 
whether a confederated representative democracy was a government 
competent to the wise and orderly management of the common 
concerns of a mighty nation, those doubts have been dispelled. If 
there have been projects of partial confederacies to be erected upon 
the ruins of the Union, they have been scattered to the winds. If 
there have been dangerous attachments to one foreign nation, and 
antipathies against another, they have been extinguished. Tell 
years of peace at home and abroad have assuaged the animosities 
of political contention and blended into harmony the most discord- 
ant elements of pubhc opinion. There still remains one effort of 
magnaniniity, one sacrifice of prejudice and passion, to be made by 

EULOGY. 377 

the individuals throughout the nation who have heretofore follov^red 
the standards of political party. It is tha.t of discarding every rem- 
nant of rancor against each other, of embracing, as countrymen 
and friends, and of yielding to talents and virtue alone that confi- 
dence which, in times of contention for principle, was bestowed 
only upon those who bore the badge of party communion. 

During the administration of John Quincy Adams, 
he was really the Chief Magistrate. He submitted 
neither his reason nor his conscience to the control of 
any partisan cabal. No man was appointed to office 
in obedience to political dictation, and no faithful pub- 
lic servant was proscribed. The result rewarded his 
magnanimity. Faction ceased to exist. When South 
Carolina, a few years afterward, assumed the very 
ground that the ancient republican party had indicated 
as lawful and constitutional, and claimed the right and 
power to set aside, within her own limits, acts of Con- 
gress which she pronounced void, because they tran- 
scended the Federal authority, she called on the re- 
publican party throughout the Union in vain. The 
dangerous heresy had been renounced forever. Since 
that time there has been no serious project of a combi- 
nation to resist the laws of the Union, much less of a 
conspiracy to subvert the Union itself. 

What though the elements of political strife remain ? 
They are necessary for the life of free States. What 
though there still are parties, and the din and turmoil 
of their contests are ceaselessly heard? They are 
founded now on questions of mere administration, or 
on the more ephemeral questions of personal merit. 

378 EULOGY. 

Such parties are dangerous only in the decline, not in 
the vigor of Republics. Rome was no longer fit for 
freedom, and needed a Dictator and a Sovereign, when 
Pompeyand Csesar divided the citizens. What though 
the magnanimity of Adams was not appreciated, and 
his contemporaries preferred his military competitor in 
the subsequent election ? The sword gathers none 
but ripe fruits, and the masses of any people will some- 
times prefer them to the long maturing harvest, which 
the statesmen of the living generations sow, to be reaped 
by their successors. For all this Adams cared not. 
He had extinguished the factions which for forty years 
had endangered the State. He had left on the records 
of history instructions and an example teaching how 
faction could be overthrown, and his country might 
resort to them when danger should recur. For him- 
self he knew well, none knew better, that 

" He who ascends to mountain-tops shall find 

The loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow. 
He who surpasses or subdues mankind, 

Must look down on the hate of those below. 
Though high above the sun of glory glow, 

And far beneath the earth and ocean spread, 
Round him are icy rocks, and loudly blow 
Contending tempests on his naked head, 
And thus reward the toils which to their summits led." 

The federal authority had so long been factiously 
opposed, that the popular respect for its laws needed 
to be renewed. The State of Georgia presented the 
fit occasion. She insisted on expelling, forcibly, rem- 

EULOGY. 379 

nants of Indian tribes, within her limits, in virtue of a 
treaty which was impeached for fraud, and came for 
revision before the Supreme Court and the Senate* 
The President met the emergency with boldness and 
decision. The demonstration thus given that good 
faith should be practised, and the law have its way, no 
matter how unequal the litigating parties, operated 
favorably toward restoring the moral influence of the 
Government. That influence, although sometimes 
checked, has recently increased in strength, until the 
federal authority is universally regarded as final, and 
liberty again walks confidently hand in hand with law. 
John Quincy Adams *' loved peace and ensued it." 
He loved peace as a Christian, because war was at 
enmity with the spirit and precepts of a religion which 
he held to be divine. As a statesman and magistrate, 
he loved peace, because war was not merely injurious 
to national prosperity, but because, whether successful 
or adverse, it was subversive of liberty. Democracies 
are prone to war, and war consumes them. He fa- 
vored, therefore, all the philanthropic efforts of the age 
to cultivate the spirit of peace, and looked forward 
with benevolent hope to the ultimate institution of a 
General Congress of nations for the adjustment of their 
controversies. But he was no visionary and no enthu- 
siast. He knew that as yet war was often inevitable — 
that pusillanimity provoked it, and that national honor 
was national property of the highest value ; because it 
was the best national defence. He admitted only de 

380 EULOGY. 

fensive war — but he did not narrowly define it. He 
held that to be a defensive war, which was waged to 
sustain what could not be surrendered or relinquished 
without compromising the independence, the just influ- 
ence, or even the proper dignity of the State. Thus 
he had supported the war with Great Britain — thus in 
later years he sustained President Jackson in his bold 
demonstration against France, when that power wan- 
tonly refused to perform the stipulations it had made 
in a treaty of indemnity ; and thus he yielded his sup- 
port to what was thought a warlike measure of the 
present administration in the diplomatic controversy 
with Great Britain concerning the Territory of Oregon. 
The living and the dead have mutual rights, and there- 
fore it must be added that he considered the present 
war with Mexico as unnecessary, unjust, and criminal. 
His opinion on this exciting question is among those 
on which he referred himself to that future age which 
he so often constituted the umpire between himself and 
his contemporaries. 

With such principles on the subject of war, he 
regarded the establishment of a system of national 
defence as a necessary policy for consolidating the 
Republic. He prosecuted, therefore, on a large scale, 
the work of fortification, and defended against popular 
opposition the institution for the cultivation of mil- 
itary science, which has so recently vindicated that 
early favor through the learning, valor, patriotism and 
humanity exhibited by its pupils on the fields of Mexico. 

EULOGY. 381 

But with that jealousy of the military spirit which 
never forsakes the wise republican statesman, he co- 
operated in reducing the army to the lowest scale 
commensurate with its necessary efficiency : 

It was a vain and dangerous delusion (he said) to believe that in 
the present or any probable condition of the world, a commerce so 
extensive as ours could exist without the continual support of a 
military marine — the only arm by which the power of a con- 
federacy could be estimated or felt by foreign nations, and the 
only standing force which could never be dangerous to our own 

The enlargement of our navy, under the influence 
of these opinions, is among the measures of national 
consolidation we owe to him ; and the institution for 
naval education we enjoy, is a recent result of his 
early suggestions. 

But John Quincy Adams relied for national security 
and peace mainly on an enlightened and broad system 
of civil policy. He looked through the future com- 
binations of States, and studied the accidents to which 
they were exposed, that he might seasonably remove 
causes of future conflict. His genius, when exercised 
in this lofty duty, played in its native element. He 
had cordially approved the measures by which Wash- 
ington had secured the free navigation of the Missis- 
sippi. He approved the acquisition of Louisiana, 
although with Jefferson he insisted on a preliminary 
amendment of the constitution for that purpose. He 
had no narrow bigotry, concerning the soil to which 
the institutions of our fathers should be confined, and 

382 EULOGY. 

no local prejudice against their extension in any direc- 
tion required by the public security, if the extension 
should be uTade with justice, honor, and humanity. 

The acquisition of Louisiana had only given us addi- 
tional territory, fruitful in new commerce, to be exposed 
to dangers which remain to be overcome. Spain still 
possessed, beside the Island of Cuba, the Peninsula of 
the Florid as, and thus held the keys of the Mississippi. 
The real independence, the commercial and the moral 
independence, of the United States, remained to be 
effected at the close of the European wars, and of our 
own war with England. Our political independence 
had been confirmed, and that was all. John Quincy 
Adams addressed himself, as Secretary of State, to the 
subversion of what remained of the colonial system. 
He commenced by an auspicious purchase of the Flor- 
idas, which gave us important maritime advantages on 
the Gulf of Mexico, while it continued our Atlantic 
sea-board unbroken from the Bay of Fundy to the 

The ever-advancing American Revolution was at 
the same time opening the way to complete disinthral- 
ment. The Spanish-American Provinces revolted, 
and seven new Republics, with constitutions not 
widely differing from our own — Buenos Ayres, Guate- 
mala, Colombia, Mexico, Chili, Central America, and 
Peru — suddenly claimed audience and admission among 
the nations of the earth. The people of those coun- 
tries were but doubtfully prepared to maintain their 

EULOGY. 383 

contest for independence, or to support republican 
institutions. But on the other side Spain was ener- 
vated and declining. She applied to the Holy League 
of Europe for their aid, and the new Republics ap- 
plied to the United States for that recognition which 
could not fail to impart strength. The question was 
momentous. The ancient colonial system was at stake. 
All Europe was interested in maintaining it. The 
Holy League held Europe fast bound to the rock of 
despotism, and were at liberty to engage the United 
States in a war for the subversion of their independ- 
ence, if they should dare to extend their aid or pro- 
tection to the rebellious Colonies in South America. 

Such a war would be a war of the two continents — 
an universal war. Who could foretell its termination, 
or its dread results ? But the emancipation of Spanish 
America was necessary for our own larger freedom, 
and our own complete security. That freedom and 
that security required that the nations of Europe should 
relax their grasp on the American Continent. The 
question was long and anxiously debated. The Amer- 
ican people hesitated to hazard, for speculative advan- 
tages, the measures of independence already obtained. 
Monroe and Adams waited calmly and firmly. The 
impassioned voice of Henry Clay rose from the Cham- 
ber of Representatives. It rang through the conti- 
nent like the notes of the clarion, inspiring South 
America with new resolution, and North America with 
the confidence the critical occasion demanded. That 



noble appeal was answered. South America stood 
firm, and North America was ready. Then it was 
that Joiin Quincy Adams, with those generous impulses 
which the impatient blood of his revolutionary sire 
always prompted, and with that enlightened sagacity 
which never misapprehended the interests of his coun- 
try, nor mistook the time nor the means to secure them, 
obtained from the administration and from Conjiress 
the acknowledgment of the independence of the 
vounsr American nations. To srive decisive eftect 
to this crreat measure. Monroe, in 1S03. solemnlv de- 
clared to the world, that thenceforth any attempt by 
any foreign power to establish the colonial system in 
any part of this continent, already emancipated, would 
be resisted as an agorression against the independence of 
the United States. On the accession of Adams to the 
administration of the Government, the vast American 
continental possessions of Brazil separated themselves 
from the crown ot" Portugal and became an indepen- 
dent State. Adams improved these propitious and sub- 
lime events by negotiating treaties of reciprocal trade 
with the youthful nations ; and, concurrinsr with Mon- 
roe. accepted, in behalf of the United States, their 
invitation to a General Congress of American States 
to be held at Panama, to cement relations of amity 
among themselves, and to consider, if it should become 
necessary, the proper means to repel the apprehended 
interterence of the Holy League of Europe. 

The last measure transcended the confidence of a 

KULOGY. 385 

large and respectable portion of the American people. 
But its moral efTect was needed to secure the stability 
of the South American Jlepublics. Adams persevered, 
and, in defending his course, gave notice to the powers 
of Europe, by this bold declaration, that the determina- 
tion of the United States was inflexible : — 

" If it be asked, whether this meeting, and the principles which 
may be adjusted and settled by it, as rules of intercourse betv/een 
American nations, may not give umbrage to European fxjwers, or 
offence to Spain, it is deemed a sufficient answer, that our attend- 
ance at Panama can give no just cause of umbrage or oflfence to 
either, and that the United States will stipulate nothing there, which 
can give such cause. Here the right of inquiry into our purf>«>se8 
and measures must stop. The Holy League of Europe, itself, was 
formed without inquiring of the United States, whether it would or 
would not give umbrage to them. The fear of giving umbrage to 
the Holy League of Europe was urged as a motive for denying to 
the American nations the acknowledgment of their independence. 
The Congress and the administration of that day consulted their 
rirrhts and their duties, not their fears. The United States must still, 
as heretofore, take counsel from their duties, rather than their 

Contrast, fellow-citizens, this declaration of John 
Quincy Adams, President of the United States in 
1825, with the proclamation of neutrality, between the 
belligerents of Europe, made by Washington in 1793, 
with the querrulous complaints of your Ministers 
against the French Directory and the British Ministry 
at the close of the last century, and with the acts of 
embargo and non-intercourse at the beginning of the 
present century, destroying our own commerce to con- 
quer forbearance from the intolerant European powers. 

386 EULOGY. 

Learn from this contrast, the epoch of the consolida- 
tion of the Republic. Thus instructed, do honor to 
the statesman and magistrate by whom, not forgetting 
the meed due to his illustrious compeers, the colonial 
system was overthrown throughout Spanish America, 
and the independence of the United States was com- 
pletely and finally consummated. 

The intrepid and unwearied statesman now directed 
his attention to the remnants of the colonial system 
still preserved in the Canadas and West Indies. Great 
Britain, by parliamentary measures, had undermined 
our manufactures, and, receiving only our raw mate- 
rials, repaid us with fabrics manufactured from them, 
while she excluded us altogether from the carrying 
trade with her colonial possessions. John Quincy 
Adams sought to counteract this injurious legislation, 
by a revenue system, which should restore the manu- 
facturing industry of the country, while he offered re- 
ciprocal trade as a compromise. His administration 
ended during a beneficial trial of this vigorous policy. 
But it taxed too severely the patriotism of some of the 
States, and was relinquished by his successors. 

Indolence begets degeneracy, and immobility is the 
first stage of dissolution. John Quincy Adams sought 
not merely to consolidate the Republic, but to perpetu- 
ate it. For this purpose he bent vast efforts, with suc- 
cess, to such a policy of internal improvement as would 
r'ncrease the facilities of communication and inter- 
course between the States, and bring into being that 

EULOGY. 387 

great internal trade which must ever constitute the 
strongest bond of federal union. Wherever a light- 
house has been erected, on our sea-coast, on our lakes, 
or on our rivers — wherever a mole or pier has been 
constructed or begun — wherever a channel obstructed 
by shoals or sawyers has been opened, or begun to be 
opened — wherever a canal or railroad, adapted to 
national uses, has been made or projected^ — there the 
engineers of the United States, during the administra- 
tion of John Quincy Adams, made explorations, and 
opened the way for a diligent prosecution of his de- 
signs by his successors. This policy, apparently so 
stupendous, was connected with a system of frscal 
economy so rigorous, that the treasury augmented its 
stores, while the work of improvement went on ; the 
public debt, contracted in past wars, dissolved away, 
and the nation flourished in unexampled prosperity. 
John Quincy Adams administered the Federal Gov- 
ernment, while De Witt Clinton was presiding in the 
State of New York. It is refreshing to recall the 
noble emulation of these illustrious benefactors — an 
emulation that shows how inseparable sound philosophy 
is from true patriotism. 

If [said Adams, in his first annual message to the Congress of 
the United States,] the powers enumerated may be effectually 
brought into action by laws promoting the improvement of agri- 
culture, commerce and manufactures, the cultivation and encourage- 
ment of the mechanic arts, and of the elegant arts, the advance- 
ment of literature, and the progress of the sciences, ornamental 
and profound, to refrain from exercising tliem for the benefit of the 

388 EULOGY^ 

people would be to hide in the earth the talent committed to our 
charge, would be treachery to the most sacred of trusts. The spirit 
of improvement is abroad upon the earth. It stimulates the hearts, 
and sharpens the faculties, not of our fellow-citizens alone, but of 
the nations of Europe, and of their rulers. While dwelling with 
pleasing satisfaction upon the superior excellence of our pohtical 
institutions, let us not be unmindful that liberty is power, that the 
nation blessed witli the largest portion of liberty, must in proportion 
to its numbers be the most powerful nation upon earth, and that the 
tenure of power by man is, in the moral purposes of his Creator, 
upon condition that it shall be exercised to ends of beneficence, to 
improve the condition of himself, and liis fellow men. While for- 
eign nations, less blessed with that freedom which is power tkan 
ourselves, are advancing with gigantic strides in the career of pub- 
lic improvement, were we to slumber in indolence, or fold our arms 
and proclaim to the world that we are palsied by the will of our 
constituents, would it not be to cast away the bounties of Pro\i- 
dence and doom ourselves to perpetual inferiority ? In the course 
of the year now drawing to its close, we have belield, under the 
auspices, and at the expense of one State of this Union, a new uni- 
versity unfolding its portals to the sons of science, and holding up 
the torch of human improvement to eyes that seek the light.* We 
have seen, under the persevering and enlightened enterprise of 
another State, the waters of our Western lakes mingle with those 
of the ocean. If undertakings like these have been accomplished 
in the compass of a few years, by the autlwrity of single members 
of our confederacy, can we, the representative authorities of the 
whole Union, fall behind our fellow servants in the exercise of 
the trust committed to us for the benefit of our common sovereign, 
by the accomplishment of works important to the whole and to 
which neither the authority nor tlie resources of any one State can 
be adequate ? 

The disastrous career of many of the States, and 
the absolute inaction of others, since the responsibilities 
of internal improvement have been cast off by the 

♦ The University of Virginia. 

EULOGY. 389 

federal authorities, and devolved upon the States, 
without other sources of revenue than direct taxation, 
and with no other motives to stimulate them than their 
own local interests, are a fitting commentary on the 
error of that departure from the policy of John Quincy 
Adams. If other comment were necessary, it would ' 
be found in the fact that States have revised and 
amended their constitutions, so as to abridge the 
power of their Legislatures to prosecute the beneficent 
enterprises which the Federal Government has de- 
volved upon them. The Smithsonian Institute, at the 
seat of Government, founded by the liberality of a 
cosmopolite, is that same university so earnestly re- 
commended by Adams for the increase and diffusion 
of knowledge among men. The exploration of the 
globe, for purposes of geographical and political knowl- 
edge, which has so recently been made under the 
authority of tsae Union, and with such noble results, 
was an enterprize conceived and suggested by the 
same statesman. The National Observatory at the 
capital, which is piercing the regions nearest to the 
throne of the eternal Author of the universe, is an 
emanation of the same comprehensive wisdom. 

Such was the administration of John Quincy Adams. 
Surely it exhibits enough done for duty and for fame — 
if the ancient philosopher said truly, that the duty of 
a statesman was to make the citizens happy, to make 
them firm in power, rich in wealth, splendid in glory, 

Q 25 ^ 



and eminent in virtue, and that such achievements 
were the greatest and best of all works among men. 

But the measure of duty was not yet fulfilled. The 
Republic thought it no longer had need of the services 
of Adams, and he bowed to its command. Two years 
elapsed, and lo ! the priest was seen again beside the 
deserted altar, and a brighter, purer, and more lasting 
flame arose out of the extinguished embers. 

" He looked in years. But in liis years were seen 
A youthful vigor, an autumnal green." 

The Republic had been extended and consolidated ; 
but human slavery, which had been incorporated in it, 
was extended and consolidated also, and was spreading, 
so as to impair the strength of the great fabric on w- hich 
the hopes of the nations were suspended. Slavery 
therefore must be restrained, and, without violence or 
injustice, must be abolished. The difficult task of re- 
moving it had been postponed by the statesmen of the 
Revolution, and had been delayed and forgotten by 
their successors. There were now resolute hearts and 
willing hands to undertake it, but who was strong 
enough, and bold enough to lead ? Who had patience 
to bear with enthusiasm that overleaped its mark, and 
with intolerance that defeated its own generous pur- 
poses? Slaveholders had power, nay, the national 
power ; and strange to say, they had it with the nation's 
consent and sympathy. Who was bold enough to pro- 
voke them, and bring the execration of the nation 

EULOGY. 391 

down upon his own head ? Who would do this, when 
even abolitionists themselves, rendered implacable by 
the manifestation of those sentiments of justice and 
moderation, without which the most humane cause, de- 
pending on a change of public opinion, cannot be con- 
ducted safety to a prosperous end, were ready to betray 
their own champion into the hands of the avenger ? 
That leader was found in the person of John Quincy 
Adams. He took his seat in the House of Represent- 
atives in 1831, without assumption or ostentation. 
Abolitionists placed in his hand petitions for the sup- 
pression of slavery in the District of Columbia, the seat 
of the federal authorities. He offered them to the 
House of Representatives, and they were rejected 
with contumely and scorn. Suddenly the alarm went 
forth, that the aged and venerable servant was retali- 
ating upon his country by instigating a servile war, that 
such a war must be avoided, even at the cost of 
sacrificing the freedom of petition and the freedom of 
debate, and that if the free States would not consent 
to make that sacrifice, then the Union should be dis- 
solved. This alarm had its desired effect. The House 
of Representatives, in 1837, adopted a rule of disci- 
pline, equivalent to an act, ordaining that no petition 
relating to slavery, nearly or remotely, should be read, 
debated or considered. The Senate adopted a like 
edict. The State authorities approved. Slavery was 
not less strongly entrenched behind the bulwark of 
precedents in the courts of law than in the fixed 

392 EULOGY. 

habits of thought and action among the people. The 
people even in the free States denounced the discussion 
of slavery, and suppressed it by unlawful force. John 
Quincy Adams stood unmoved amid the storm. He 
knew that the only danger incident to political reform, 
was the danger of delaying it too long. The French 
Revolution had made this an axiom of political science. 
If, indeed, the discussion of slavery was so hazardous 
as was pretended, it had been deferred too long already. 
The advocates of slavery had committed a fatal error. 
They had abolished freedom of speech and freedom of 
petition to save an obnoxious institution. As soon as 
the panic should subside, the people would demand the 
restoration of those precious rights, and would scruti- 
nize with fearless fidelity the cause for which they had 
been suppressed. He offered petition after petition, 
each bolder and more importunate than the last. He 
debated questions, kindred to those which were for- 
bidden, with the firmness and fervor of his noble nature. 
For age 

Had not quenched the open truth 
And fiery vehemence of youth. 

Soon he gained upon his adversaries. District after 
district sent champions to his side. States reconsid- 
ered, and resolved in his behalf. He saw the tide was 
turning, and then struck one bold blow, not now for 
freedom of petition and debate, but a stroke of bold 
and retaliating warfare. He offered a resolution de- 

EULOGY. 393 

Glaring that the following amendments of the constitu- 
tion of the United States be submitted to the people of 
the several States for their adoption : 

From and after the fourth day of July, 1842, there shall be, through- 
out the United States, no hereditary slavert, but on and aftei 
that day every child born within the United States shall be free. 
With the exception of the Territory of Florida, there shall, hence 
forth, never be admitted into this Union, any State the constitu 
tion of which shall tolerate within the same the existence oi 


In 1845, the obnoxious rule of the House of Repre 
sentatives was rescinded. The freedom of debate and 
petition was restored, and the unrestrained and irre- 
pressible discussion of slavery by the press and political 
parties began. For the rest, the work of emancipation 
abides the action, whether it be slow or fast, of the 
moral sense of the American people. It depends not 
on the zeal and firmness only of the reformers, but on 
their wisdom and moderation also. Stoicism, that had 
no charity for error, never converted any human so- 
ciety to virtue ; Christianity, that remembers the true 
nature of man, has encompassed a large portion of the 
globe. How long emancipation may be delayed, is 
among the things concealed from our knowledge, but 
not so the certain result. The perils of the enterprize 
are already passed — its difficulties have already been 
removed — when it shall have been accomplished it will 
be justly regarded as the last noble effort which ren- 
dered the Republic imperishable. 


394 EULOGY. 

Then the merit of the great achievement will be 
awarded to John Quincy Adams ; and by none more 
gratefully than by the communities on whom the insti- 
tution of slavery has brought the calamity of prema- 
ture and consumptive decline, in the midst of free, 
vigorous, and expanding States. 

If this great transaction could be surpassed in dra- 
matic sublimity, it was surpassed when the same im- 
passioned advocate of humanity appeared, at the age 
of seventy-four, with all the glorious associations that 
now clustered upon him, at the bar of the Supreme 
Court of the United States, and pleaded, without solici- 
tation or reward, the cause of Cinque and thirty other 
Africans, who had been stolen by a Spanish slaver 
from their native coast, had slain the master and crew 
of the pirate vessel, floated into the waters of the 
United States, and there been claimed by the Presi- 
dent, in behalf of the authorities of Spain. He pleaded 
this great cause with such happy effect, that the cap- 
tives were set at liberty. Conveyed by the charity of 
the humane to their native shores, they bore the pleas- 
ing intelligence to Africa, that justice was at last 
claiming its way among civilized and Christian men ! 

The recital of heroic actions loses its chief value, if 
we cannot discover the principles in which they were 
born. The text of John Quincy Adams, from which 
he deduced the duties of citizens, and of the republic, 
was the address of the Continental Congress to the 
people of the United States, on the occasion of the 

EULOGY. 395 

successful close of the American Revolution. He 
dwelt often and emphatically on the words : 

Let it bo remembered, that it has ever been the pride and the 
boast of America, that the rights for which she contended were 
the rights of human nature. By the blessing of the Author of 
those rights, they have prevailed over all opposition, and form the 
basis of thirteen independent States. No instance has heretofore 
occurred, nor can any instance be expected hereafter to occur, in 
which tlie unadulterated forms of republican government can pre- 
tend to so fair an opportunity of justifying themselves by their fruits. 
In this view, the citizens of the United States are responsible for 
the greatest trust ever confided to a political society. If justice, 
GOOD FAITH, HONOR, GRATITUDE, and all the Other qualities which 
ennoble the character of a nation and fulfil the ends of govern- 
ment, be the fruits of our establishments, the cause of liberty will 
acquire a dignity and lustre which it has never yet enjoyed, and an 
example will be set which cannot but have the most favorable influ- 
ence on mankind. If, on the other side, our Governments should 
be unfortunately blotted with the reverse of these cardinal virtues, 
the great cause which we have engaged to vindicate will be dis- 
honored and betrayed ; the last and fairest experiment in favor of 
the rights of human nature will be turned against them, and their 
patrons and friends exposed to the insults, and silenced by the vota- 
ries of tyranny and usurpation. 

Senators and Representatives of the People of the 
State of New York : I had turned my steps away from 
your honored halls, long since, as I thought forever 
I come back to them by your command, to fulfil a 
higher duty and more honorable service than ever 
before devolved upon me. I repay your generous 
confidence, by offering to you this exposition of the 
duties of the magistrate and of the citizen. It is the 
same which John Quincy Adams gave to the Congress 

396 EULOGY. 

of the United States, in his oration on the death of 
James Madison. It is the key to his own exalted 
character, and it enables us to measure the benefits he 
conferred upon his country. If then you ask what 
motive enabled him to rise above parties, sects, com- 
binations, prejudices, passions, and seductions, I answer 
that he served his country, not alone, or chiefly because 
that country was his own, but because he knew her 
duties and her destiny, and knew her cause was the 
cause of human nature. 

If you inquire why he was so rigorous in virtue as 
to be often thought austere, I answer it was because 
human nature required the exercise of justice, honor, 
and gratitude, by all who were clothed with authority 
to act in the name of the American people. If you 
ask why he seemed, sometimes, with apparent incon- 
sistency, to lend his charities to the distant and the 
future rather than to his own kindred and times, I 
reply, it was because he held that the tenure of human 
power is on conditionof its being beneficently exercised 
for the common welfare of the human race. Such men 
are of no country. They belong to mankind. If we 
cannot rise to this height of virtue, we cannot hope to 
comprehend the character of John Quincy Adams, or 
understand the homage paid by the American people 
to his memory. 

Need it be said that John Quincy Adams studied 
justice, honor and gratitude, not by the false standards 
of the age, but by their own true nature ? He general- 

EULOGY. 397 

ized truth, and traced it always to its source, the bosom 
of God. Thus in his defence of the Amistad captives 
he began with defining justice in the language of Jus- 
tinian, *' Constans et perpetua voluntas jus suum cuique 
tribuendi." He quoted on the same occasion from the 
Declaration of Independence, not by way of rhetorical 
embellishment, and not even as a valid human ordi- 
nance, but as a truth of nature, of universal application, 
the memorable words, " We hold these truths to be self- 
evident, that all men are created equal, and that they 
are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable 
rights, and that among these rights are life, liberty, and 
the pursuit of happiness." In his vindication of the 
right of debate, he declared that the principle that re- 
ligious opinions were altogether beyond the sphere of 
legislative control, was but one modification of a more 
extensive axiom, which included the unbounded freedom 
of the press, and of speech, and of the communication 
of thought in all its forms. He rested the inviolability 
of the right of petition, not on constitutions, or charters, 
which might be glossed, abrogated or expunged, but in 
the inherent right of every animate creature to pray to 
its superior. 

The model by which he formed his character was 
Cicero. Not the living Cicero, sometimes inconsistent ; 
often irresolute ; too often seeming to act a studied 
part; and always covetous of applause. But Cicero, 
as he aimed to be, and as he appears revealed in those 
immortal emanations of his genius which have been the 

398 EULOGY. 

delight and guide of intellect and virtue in every suc- 
ceeding age. Like the Roman, Adams was an orator, 
but he did not fall into the error of the Roman, in prac- 
tically valuing eloquence more than the beneficence to 
which it should be devoted. Like him he was a states- 
man and mamstrate worthv to be called '' The second 
founder of the Republic," — like him a teacher of didac- 
tic philosophy, of morals, and even of his own peculiar 
art; and like him he made all liberal learning tributary 
to that noble art, while poetry was the inseparable 
companion of his genius in its hours of relaxation from 
the labors of the forum and of the capitol. 

Like him he loved only the society of good men, and 
by his generous praise of such, illustrated the Roman's 
beautiful aphorism, that no one can be envious of good 
deeds, who has confidence in his own virtue. Like 
Cicero he kept himself unstained by social or domestic 
vices ; preserved serenity and cheerfulness ; cherished 
habitual reverence for the Deity, and dwelt continually, 
not on the mystic theology of the schools, but on the 
hopes of a better life. He lived in what will be re- 
garded as the virtuous age of his country, while Cicero 
was surrounded by an overwhelming degeneracy. He 
had the light of Christianity for his guide ; and its sub- 
lime motives as incitements to virtue : while Cicero 
had only the confused instructions of the Grecian 
schools, and saw nothing certainly attainable but 
present applause and future fame. In moral courage, 
therefore, he excelled his model and rivalled Cato 

EULOGY. 399 

But Cato was a visionary, who insisted upon his right 
to act always without reference to the condition of 
mankind, as he should have acted in Plato's imaginary 
Republic. Adams stood in this respect midway be- 
tween the impracticable stoic and the too flexible 
academician. He had no occasion to say, as the 
Grecian orator did, that if he had sometimes acted 
contrary to himself, he had never acted contrary to the 
Republic ; but he might justly have said, as the noble 
Roman did, *' I have rendered to my country all the 
great services which she was willing to receive at my 
hands, and I have never harbored a thought concerning 
her that was not divine." 

More fortunate than Cicero, who fell a victim of civil 
wars which he could not avert, Adams was permitted 
to linger on the earth, until the generations of that fu- 
ture age, for whom he had lived and to whom he had 
appealed from the condemnation of contemporaries, 
came up before the curtain which had shut out his 
sight, and pronounced over him, as he was sinking into 
the grave, their judgment of approval and benediction. 

The distinguished characteristics of his life were be- 

er sought wealth, but devoted himself to the service of 
mankind. Yet, by the practice of frugality and method, 
he secured the enjoyment of dealing forth continually 
no stinted charities, and died in affluence. He never 
solicited place or preferment, and had no partizan con> 
binations or even connections ; yet he received honors 

400 EULOGY. 

which eluded the covetous grasp of those who formed 
parties, rewarded friends and proscribed enemies ; and 
he filled a longer period of varied and distinguished 
service than ever fell to the lot of any other citizen. 
In every stage of this progress he was content. He 
was content to be president, minister, representative, 
or citizen. 

Stricken in the midst of this service, in the very act 
of rising to debate, he fell into the arms of conscript 
fathers of the Republic. A long lethargy supervened 
and oppressed his senses. Nature rallied the wasting 
powers, on the verge of the grave, for a very brief 
period. But it was long enough for him. The re- 
kindled eye showed that the re-collected mind was 
clear, calm, and vigorous. His weeping family, and his 
sorrowing compeers were there. He surveyed the 
scene and knew at once its fatal import. He had left 
no duty unperformed; he had no wish unsatisfied ; no 
ambition unattained ; no regret, no sorrow, no fear, no 
remorse. He could not shake oflf the dews of death 
that gathered on his brow. He could not pierce the 
thick shades that rose up before him. But he knew 
that eternity lay close by the shores of time. He knew 
that his Redeemer lived. Eloquence, even in that 
hour, inspired him with his ancient sublimity of utter- 
ance. " This,'* said the dying man, " this is the 
END OF earth." He paused for a moment, and then 
added, " I am content.'* Angels might well draw aside 
the curtains of the skies to look down on such a 

EULOGY. 401 

scene — a scene that approximated even to that scene 
of unapproachable sublimity, not to be recalled with- 
out reverence, when, in mortal agony, One who spake 
as never man spake, said, " It is finished !" 

Only two years after the birth of John Quincy 
Adams, there appeared on an island in the Mediter- 
ranean sea, a human spirit newly born, endowed with 
equal genius, without the regulating qualities of justice 
and benevolence which Adams possessed in an emi- 
nent degree. A like career opened to both — born like 
Adams, a subject of a king — the child of more genial 
skies, like him, became in early life a patriot and a citi- 
zen of a new and great Republic. Like Adams he lent his 
service to the State in precocious youth, and in its hour 
of need, and won its confidence. But unlike Adams 
he could not wait the dull delays of slow and laborious, 
but sure advancement. He sought power by the hasty 
road that leads through fields of carnage, and he be- 
came, like Adams, a supreme magistrate, a Consul 
But there were other Consuls. He was not content. 
He thrust them aside, and was Consul alone. Consular 
power was too short. He fought new battles, and was 
Consul for life. But power, confessedly derived from 
the people, must be exercised in obedience to their 
will, and must be resigned to them again, at least in 
death. He was not content. He desolated Europe 
afresh, subverted the Republic, imprisoned the patri- 
arch who presided over Rome's comprehensive See, 
and obliged him to pour on his head the sacred oil 

402 EULOGY. 

that made the persons of kings divine, and their right 
to reign indefeasible. He was an Emperor. But he 
saw around him a mother, brothers and sisters, not en- 
nobled ; whose humble state reminded him, and the 
world, that he was born a plebeian ; and he had no heir 
to wait impatient for the imperial crown. He scourged 
the earth again, and again fortune smiled on him even 
in his wild extravagance. He bestowed kingdoms and 
principalities upon his kindred — put away the devoted 
wife of his youthful days, and another, a daughter of 
Hapsburgh's imperial house, joyfully accepted his 
proud alliance. Offspring gladdened his anxious sight ; 
a diadem was placed on its infant brow, and it received 
the homage of princes, even in its cradle. Now he 
w^as indeed a monarch — a legitimate monarch — a mon- 
arch by divine appointment — the first of an endless 
succession of monarchs. But there were other mon- 
archs who held sway in the earth. He was not con- 
tent. He would reign with his kindred alone. He 
gathered new and greater armies — from his own land 
— ^from subjugated lands. He called forth the young 
and brave — one from every household — from the Py- 
renees to Zuyder Zee — from Jura to the ocean. He 
marshalled them into long and majestic columns, and 
went forth to seize that universal dominion, which 
seemed almost within his grasp. But ambition had 
tempted fortune too far. The nations of the earth re* 
sisted. repelled, pursued, surrounded him. The pa- 
geant was ended The crown fell from his presumpt- 

EULOGY. 403 

uous head. The wife who had wedded him in his 
pride, forsook him when the hour of fear came upon 
him. His child was ravished from his sight. His kins- 
men were degraded to their first estate, and he was no 
longer Emperor, nor Consul, nor General, nor even a 
citizen, but an exile and a prisoner, on a lonely island, 
in the midst of the wild Atlantic. Discontent attended 
him there. The wayward man fretted out a few long 
years of his yet unbroken manhood, looking off at the 
earliest dawn and in evening's latest twilight, towards 
that distant world that had only just eluded his 
grasp. His heart corroded. Death came, not unlooked 
for, though it came even then unwelcome. He was 
stretched on his bed within the fort which constituted 
his prison. A few fast and faithful friends stood 
around, w^ith the guards who rejoiced that the hour of 
relief from long and wearisome watching was at hand. 
As his strength wasted away, delirium stirred up the 
brain from its long and inglorious inactivity. The pa- 
geant of ambition returned. He was again a Lieuten- 
ant, a General, a Consul, an Emperor of France. He 
filled again the throne of Charlemagne. His kindred 
pressed around him again, re-invested with the pompous 
pageantry of royalty. The daughter of the long line 
of kings again stood proudly by his side, and the sunny 
face of his child shone out from beneath the diadem 
that encircled its flowing locks. The marshals of the 
Empire awaited his command. The legions of the old 
guard were in the field, their scarred faces rejuve- 

404 EULOGY. 

nated, and their ranks, thinned in many battles, replen 
ished, Russia, Prussia, Austria, Denmark and England, 
gathered their mighty hosts to give him battle. Once 
more he mounted his impatient charger, and rushed 
forth to conquest. He waved his sword aloft, and 
cried " Tete d'Armee." The feverish vision broke — 
the mockery was ended. The silver cord was loosed, 
and the warrior fell back upon his bed a lifeless corpse. 
This was the end of earth. The Corsican was not 


Statesmen and citizens ! the contrast suggests its 
own impressive moral. 






Coutaining over 300 I2mo. pages. Illustrated. 


In HER wftiTDfOs, WO disccm more unquestionable marks of true genius, and » 
greater portion of the unmistakable inspiration of true poetic art than in any of the 
lady writers that we have heretofore ushered to the applause of the public. In spirit 
and in genius, a most interesting and brilliant lady— still in the earUest youth— un- 
doubtedly destined to occupy a very distinguished and pernaanent place among the 
native authors of this land. — Home Journal. 

Graceful, spirited, and brilliant poetess. — N. Y. TVibune. 

She evidently writes with great facility, with a fine command of poetical language, 
and a fancy singularly rich in apt and various illustration. — R. W. Griswold. 

Her contributions to the "Home Journal," prove her to be a real poet — born poet 
---of the unmistaka,ble stamp. — New Orleans Delta. 

Miss Fuller, who has written much for the "Home Journal," under the signatin-e 
of "Singing Sybil," has an unusual degree of grace and imagination. — Washinglon 

Ohio is furnishing the Union with its best poetry. We are proud of her geniua 
and confident of her triumph. — Ohio State Journal. 

The qualities of her personal and social character are as attractive as her mental 
gifts are extraordinary. She vsiU be found to deserve as warm a sympathy from the 
hearts of the virtuous as the admiration which she wiU receive from the judgments 
of the discerning. — Detroit TVibune. 

She is already en-idably known to the great literary woi-ld, although young and just 
balancing upon the tlu-eshold of womanhood. Some of her productions have been 
widely republished, and have found a place in the English press. — Southern Christian 

Notable instance of what a gifted mind can accomplish in winning distinctior* 
without the advantages of wealth, hterary friends, or patrons, to give her a favorable 
introduction to the reading world. — Cleveland Herald. 




What I Saw in London: or, Men and Things in the 
English Metropolis. Bj D. W. Bartlett. Auburn : 
Derby & Miller. 

This volume displays nothing of the pride of authorship, but it has a freshnest 
and animation in its narrative that are quite attractive, and coming from one of the 
youngest writers who has ever braved the perils of the press, it has an air of indi- 
viduality that cannot fail to prepossess the reader in its favor. The author enjoyed 
good opportunities for observation, and has turned them to excellent account. * * * 
We copy a few of his rapid portraitures, which have the rare merit of being un- 
affected and free from exafrgeration. The volume contains numerous easy, unpre- 
tending sketches of a similar character, with a frequent vela of shrewd remark on 
manners and society in England. We often meet with a more pretentious travelley 
— but seldom with a more agreeable one. — JV. Y, Tribune. 

The author is a young man, yet he has produced in the volume before us a more 
readable and valuable work than nine tenths of the books of travel which are con- 
stantly pouring from the press. • * * A feature of this volume that will interest 
many readers is his group of " Sketches of Pal)lic Men." These include Tennyson, 
Dickens, Carlyle, Macaulay, and others. — Hartford Times, 

The hook is racy and spirited. Its descriptions are graphic, and it will be read 
through with unflagging interest. The author has been the able foreign correspon- 
dent of several journals ; he gave the best description of the Crystal Palace, wo 
think, of any we saw. — Boston Olive Branch. 

An air of originality and freshness pervades every page. On the whole, we think 
it will be regarded as one of the most entertaining books of the season.— JV. E, 



He deals with men and things, and the traits of English every-day life, kindly and 
pleasantly, and he has made a neat volume of excellent reading. — J^ational 

All the lions in London, literary, artistic, political, military, naval, and clerical, 
are vividly sketched. We have derived a great deal of information and pleasure 
from a perusal of this good book. — Philadelphia City Item, 

Mr. Bartlett has written a book which is the fruit of long residence among, and 
extensive observation of thfl great English nation. It is this which gives a value to 
his work that few volumes of travels can pretend to, and which causes us to strongly 
recommend it to all others. — Carpet Bag, 

This lively, gossipping volume is a welcome addition to the literature of the day. 
— JV*. Y. Organ. 


The Life of the Empress Josephine, first vrife 
of Napoleon. By P. C. IIeadley. 12rao., pp. 3V8. 
Derby, Miller & Co., Auburn, New York. 

There are few of the female characters of modern hiRtory whose lives abound with 
more interesting eventa than thai of the Empress Jo^^el)llillO. Her wlmle course wa 
one of romantic, and also of tragic intereet. If the illustrious husband was eminent 
far above all other men of his time, for vast iniellect anil nrodieinus achievements, 
Josephine seemed, in the more lofty and majestic traits of cnaracier, lo transcend iha 
most distinEjuished of her female cotemporaries. Like her husband, pjie is a ereal 
Eubjcci for biography. Many memoirs have been written of her, possessing more ot 
less merit, but none have been without intere'U. The author of the present book has, 
we think, been very successful. It is by far the most iniercfiiiug history of Jc»8<>i>hino 
that we have yet seen. He seems to have had recourse to the best sources for hia 
uiaierials, which he has combined and put together with skill and judgment. His 
Etyle is flowing, elegant, and often eloquent. In short, it is a book well worth read- 
ing. It will not fail to attract the public attention. As to the mechanical execution 
of the book, it is but justice to the proprietors to say, that it will comjiare favorably 
, with the productions of the press of any city in the Ifnion. It contains a fine mezzo- 
tint portrait of Josephine, showing a beauty of person equalled only by the moral 
grandeur of her character. — Washington Union. 

It is not without its sparkling gems. Occasional flashe'? of thought make the rea- 
der pause to contemplate their freshness and beauty, and reveal a well-stored mind 
in sympathy with the noblest human traits, in close comnmnion with the glories ol 
nature. Ilia text, too, is happily chosen. VVlio has not felt a lingering, peculiar, 
undefinable interest in the highly extraordinary and tragic career of the Empiesa 
Josephine 7 Would it not extend this notice loo far, we should like to touch the more 
prominent of the many eventful passages which marked the history of this remark- 
able child of superstition, to gaze for a moment u[jon the vascillaiing ijlar of her des 
tiny, and trace its luminous ascent from the veriest depths of agonizing gloom and 
despair, to the loftiest pinacle of worldly splendor and renown, where she grasped 
for a moment the fleeting phantom of happiness, only to sink again into the arms ol 
misfortune, and feel still more keenly the bitter pangs of adversity. But all this will 
be found in a very readable form in this interesting volume, and we cheerfuiiy com- 
mend it to notice. — Utica Observer. 

We do not know of a biography of this important and interesting personage, so 
complete in its historic details, and so congenial to the spirit of her life, as this : 
while it has also the advantage of a pojiular style, and of that view of the subject 
which accords with the general sentiment, Mr. IIeadley writes in a clear, well-sus- 
tained and engaging style — evidently eniertaining a warm approbation of his subject, 
and alive to the sublimity and purity of her life. Treating of one of the most impor- 
tant epochs of French history, the work is finely adapted to enlist the interest of the 
reader, and to supply a kind and degree of information not readily accessible else- 
where. It can hardly fail of proving a highly popular, as it is a highly creditable 
work.— iV. Y. Evangelist. 

The writer of this book is a brother of J. T. IIeadley, the author of" Napoleon and 
his Marshals"— "Washington and his Generals," &c. There is a strong family re 
semblance between the two. The qualities which have given such a wide celebrity 
to the one, seem to be fully enjoyed by the other. Both brothers are characterized 
by that peculiar vividness and, eo to speak, intensitij of style which always makes a 
book readable and interesting. The '• Life of Josephine" possesses much of this pe- 
culiar charm. The author has studied his subject well and cmild hardly have chosen 
ft better one to write upon. Josephine is a charmed name to many hearts. There 
are few who do not feel an interest in her singularly eventful career. At first the 
daughter of a West India planter,— then the wife of a French nobleman,— anon tha 
ronsort of Gen. Bonaparte and afierwanls Empress of France ; — her picture prcsenta 
us with a scene of constantly increasing brightness, where the dark shades never 
chase away the light, till we behold her ending a career of dazzlii.g splendor as a de- 
throned Empress and repudiated wife. Josephine was ia many respects a model of a 
woman.- Amherst Express. 


The Life of Gen. Zachary Taylor, 12th Presidenl 
of the United States, brought down to his inauguration 
Steel portrait, 12mo., muslin; a new edition, by H. Mont- 

%* 18,000 of the above work have been sold by us. 

"Tub Life op Gen. Z. Taylor." — H. Montgomery, Esq., editor of the Auburn 
Daily Advertiser, has found leisure, amid the multitude of his engagements, to get 
up the most respectable looking and carefully prepared biography of the old General 
we have yet seen. It makes a neat volume, and is printed on excellent paper and 
new type, and bound in the very best style. It cannot fail to find a tremendous sale , 
a result due alike to the book itself, and the enterprise of its busy publishers.- 
Albany Evening Juurnal. 

" Life of General Zachary Taylor, by U. Montgomery," is the latest aiv 
most complete of the numerous volumes purporting to be 'Lives' of the Gonera'. 
The author of this work — likewise editor of the Auburn Journal — is already know i 
as a forcible and pleasing writer, handling his subject with a masterly hand ; the a 
characteristics are fully developed in the book before us. The stirring incidents if 
General Taylor's life, and the recent battles on Mexican soil are well portrayed — 
the very fair and impartial style of narration being a rare quality in depicting battle 
Bcenes. The book will repay an attentive perusal. — N. Y. Tribune. 

The Life op Major General Zachary Taylor. By II. Montgomery.— 
A.nother and still another " illustrated " Life of the great American, (would that ho 
had as many lives as the publishers give him,) the American whom Carlyle would 
recognise as " a hero" worthy of his pen's most eloquent recognition ; the man op 
•UTY in an ago of Self. An American in everything ; in valor, in strong muscular 
«ense ; in simplicity and directness and cordiality of feeling ; an American in evci7 
ihing, save in devotion to our new political God of Expediency. 

The volume before us is put forth in Auburn, by the editor of the Auburn Daily 
Advertiser, whose vigorous, fluent style, and skill in compressing his materials, 
must make his elegant volume very generally acceptable. Many of the trait* 
•scribed to General Taylor have been assimilated by some of his admirers to tho 
leading military characteristics of Frederick the Great. But, unlike Frederick, 
Taylor is anything but a martinet in discipline; and, though his movements. of small 
bodies of troops against vast odds, are characterized by the vigorous will and iroui 
determination of Frederick, the arbitrary disposition of the Prussian despot is whoHy 
alien t» his tolerant and candid nature. Taylor's affectionate and almost parental 
relaticii to his soldiers, perhaps, alone first suggested the parallel, as we find it 
hirivCwl in the Kllowing stanza of some verses upon one of his battles, quoted by air. 
Moatgomei> : 

" ' Old Zach !' 'Old Zach I' the war cry rattles 

Among those men of iron tread, 
A* rung ' Old Fritz' in Europe's battles 
When thus liis host ft teat Frederick led." 

Literary Wtrtd 


The American Fruit Culturist : By J. J. Thomas; 
contaiaing directions for the propagation and culture of 
Fruit Trees, in the Nursery, Orchard, and Garden; with 
descriptions of the principal American and Foreign varieties 
cultivated in the United States: with 300 accurate illustra- 
tions. 1 volume, of over 400 pages, 12 mo. 

A cheaper, but equally valuable book with DoYming's was wanted by the great 
mass. Just such a work has Mr. Thomas given us. We consider it an invaluable 
addition to our agricultural hhreniea.— Wool Grower, 

We predict for it a very rapid sale ; it should be in the hands of every fruit grower 
gjid especially every nurseryman. It is a very cheap book for its price.— Ohio 

It is a most valuable work to all engaged in the culture of fruit trees,— Uiica 

It IS a book of great value. — Genesee Farmer, 

Among all the writers on fruita, we do not know of one who is Mr. Thomas* 
superior, if his equal, in condensing important matter. He gets right at the pith of 
the thing — he gives you that which you wish to know at once ; stripped of all use- 
less talk and twattle. No man has a keener eye for the best ways of doing things. 
Hence we always look into his writings with the assurance that we shall find some- 
thing new, or some improvements on the old ; and we are seldom disappointed. 
This book is no exception. It is full. There is no vacant space in it. It is like a 
fresh egg — all good, and packed to the shell full. — Prairie Farmer. 

In the volume before us we have the result of the author's experience and obser- 
vations, continued with untiring perseverance for many years, in language at onca 
concise and perspicuous. — Albany Cultivator. 

We can say with confidence to our readers, that if you need a book to instruct you 
m the modes of growing trees, &c., from the first start, the systems of pruning, etc., 
etc., you will find the American Fruit Culturist an extremely valuable work. The 
million who purchase it, will find matter adapted to their wants, superior to any 
work as yet published. — Cleveland Herald. 

For sale in New York by M. H. NEWMAN & CO. and C. M. SAXTON. 
Boston, B. B. MUSSEY & CO. Philadelphia, THOMAS, COWPERTHWAITE <& 

Bar* Copies in paper covers sent by mail, free of expense, on receipt of $1,0C 
p«si p»id. Direct to DP.RBY <fc MILLER, 

Aubvm^ Ns T. 



Or, Life on a Farm. By Day Kellogg Lee. Auburn; 

Derby & Miller. 

" We have read with hvely and satisfied interest. It is the story of 
a pioneer settlement in Western (now Central) New York, and ita 
gradual transformation from a mere oi)ening in the grand old woods 
into a populous and thrift}' rural township. The scenes are natural, 
the characters homely and life-like, and the narrative replete with 
passages of the profoundest pathos, and incidents of almost painful in- 
terest. This is evidently the work of no amateur in woodcraft, but 
one ' to the manor born,' and loving Nature and her children with a 
son's, a brother's aflfcction. Above all, ' Summerfield' is in the deepest 
sense religious, and calculated to exert a strong and w^holesorae moral 
influence on its readers, who we trust will be many." — Horace Grccky, 

"It aims to teach the lesson of contentment, and the rural picture 
which it dra\vs, and the scenes of home happiness with which it makes 
us acquainted, are well calculated to enforce it." — Atlas. 

" There is a great deal of life and nature in the story, and in some 
of the scenes there is a rich display of wit. It were well for the rising 
generation if all the works of fiction, which almost deluge the world, 
were equally dignified iu their character and harmless in their text- 
dency." — Argus. 

" A story told with freshness, and in a neat pointed style. It has a 
flavor of originality, and the descriptions are generally excellent ; and; 
what is something of a peculiarity at present in writing of this kind, 
not over-burdened with words " — Literary World. 

" The aim of the author of this little work is to instil into the minds 
of his readers a lesson of the utmost practical importance, intimately 
connected with the experience of ever3'-day life. This commendable 
object he successful!}^ accomplishes in the pages of this charming 
book. ' Life on a Farm' is jjresented in all its most attractive features, 
and yet with the strictest adherence to truth. We heartily commend 
the work to our readers." — Albany Register. 

" This is a i)leasing and well-written tale, founded on incidents con- 
nected with farm-life, and bearing a most instructive and salutary 
moral. The print, paper, and binding are excellent, and highly cred- 
itable to the publishers whose enterprise and thrift have already given 
them rank with some of the oldest and most prosperous houses of th« 
great cities " — J. G. Saxe. 



Or, A Bird's Eye Virw op City Life. By Jokl II. Ross, M.D. 

Auburn : Derby & Millkr. 

" This book contains the observations of a very observing author, 
who has seen most of what is to be seen in New York, the great em- 
porium of bu.siness, pleasure, riches, poverty, avarice, charity and 
crime. The book contains a great variety of useful information, and 
is written in a style that cannot fail to please. We predict that it will 
have a large sale throughout the country. We shall give our readers 
a few extracts from this volume in our next m\mh(iY."—Bu.Uajid 

" This is, as it professes to be, ' A Bird's Eye View of City Life.' It 
is a volume of 326 pages, and when we inform our readers that it is 
from the pen of Dr. Ross, we prepare them to expect a chaste, appro- 
priate and well-written volume. It notices the public institutions, 
benevolent and scientific societies, &c., and the work is interspersed 
with sound and excellent remarks upon a variety of topics. When we 
say that it has been published by those enterprising publishers, Derby 
and Miller, of Auburn, we need say no more of the merits of its typog- 
raphy, binding, &.c."~Mirror of the Times. 

" This is an excellent book for two classes of persons : first, those 
who go to New York, and want a guide to enable them to find out the 
lions ; secondly, those w^ho never go thither, but would still like to 
take in the great idea of the largest American city, as far as they can 
without the aid of vision. The writer is evidently a person of minute 
as well as extensive observation, and has spared no pains to render 
his work worthy of the public patronage."— yl?-^?/5. 

" This is a volume of over 300 pages, and embraces a great amount 
of statistical and other information relative to the great metropolis. 
The author has drawn from original sources in his accounts of institu- 
tions and public charities ; his work cannot be without value."— il^a/iy 



Golden Steps to Respectability, Usefulness and 

Happiness ; being a series of Lectures to the youth of 

both sexes on Character, Principles, Associates, Amuse- 

^ments. Religion, and Marriage. By John Mather Austin. 

Derby, Lliller & Co., Auburn, 1850. 243 pp. 

The author of this book is a writer of superior attraction, and has here selected a 
subject of deep interest. Could the youth of the couiiiry be induced to exchange th© 
Buntiine, Lippard, and Ingraham literature of the day, for such reading as this, tho 
benefits to themselves and society would be incalculable. — Lockport Courier. 

We honor the heart of the writer of this volume as well as his head. He has her» 
addressed an earnest and manly appeal to the young, every page of which proves his 
sincerity and his desire for their welfare. The subjects treated of in the different lec- 
tures are those indicated on the title page. Integrity and virtue, usefulness, truth 
and honor, are the " Golden Steps " by which the young may ascend to respectability, 
usefulness, and happiness. We trust the seed thus sown will not be without its fruit, 
and that his readers will imbibe the spirit of the motto he has chosen— 

" Onward ! onward ! toils despising. 
Upward ! upward 1 turn thine eyes. 
Only be content when rising, 
Fix thy goal amid the skies." 
•^Albany Stale Regiater, 

The work of Mr. Austin, written in a pleasing style, and nervous and pointed in its 
argumentation, will hold a prominent position among the fortunate endeavors by 
which the rising generation are to be Inlluenced. The volume before us is beautifu- 
in its exterior, and this, combined with the aim of the author, in which he has admi- 
rably succeeded, will give it a wide range, and secure for it, we hope, an invaluabla 
influence.— .Bu^a/o Christian Advocate. 

A plain, familiar, forcible exposition of the duties and responsibilities of Youth, 
which can hardly be read without exerting a salutary and lasting influence. Judging 
from the popularity of Mr. Austin's former works, we predict for it a wide circula- 
tion. — New York Tribune. 

If tho precepts eloquently and forcibly urged in these pages could be brought ucmie 
and impressed upon the minds of the mass of youih in our land, they would otwior 
lasting and incalculable benefits upon the rising generation. Wc cordially commeou 
this work to the attention of the young and all who have charge of them. 

The publishers have executed their work admirable, and have brought out an elo- 
pant and beautiful book. Their work will compare favorably with any of the New 
York houses.— TVoy Post. 

The following extract has reference to the " golden steps" of the Presideat •* i» 
raited States, Millard Fillmore :— (See page 69.) 



011 899 424 3